When we talk medical malpractice, we usually highlight issues such as surgical errors or the failure to properly diagnose conditions for timely treatment. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports another type of medical injury that could be concerning to patients: healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs.
HAIs occur when a person is in a health care treatment environment -- usually a hospital. The person contracts an infection during the treatment either through contact with unsanitary items or due directly to treatment. On example of a HAI is pneumonia. In 2011 alone, over 157,000 patients contracted pneumonia while undergoing medical treatment in a hospital.
Other types of HAIs include gastrointestinal illnesses, urinary tract infections, primary bloodstream infections and surgical site infections. Many times, these infections are treated routinely in the hospital alongside the main diagnosis; in some cases, it is almost routine to expect the infection. For example, thousands of patients who go through inpatient surgery each year experience a site infection.
According to the CDC, one person of every 25 treated in a hospital can expect to experience a health care-associated infection. While these infections can range from minor to life-threatening, they almost always increase the expense and discomfort of treatment. When facing such an infection, particularly if it is life-threatening or causes serious injury, individuals might be able to seek compensation through a medical malpractice suit.
A legal professional can help you decide if a malpractice suit can be filed and how strong the chances at success are. Success with such suits often depends on multiple factors, including the damage that was experienced as well as the liability through negligence on the part of the medical staff.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Healthcare-associated Infections (HAIs)," accessed Aug. 14, 2015