Can you sue for a hospital-acquired infection?

If you went into the hospital or other medical facility for a minor procedure and ended up with a serious infection or a loved one died from an infection they acquired while they were hospitalized, can you take legal action? That depends on how the infection occurred and whether it could have been prevented if proper procedures had been followed.

Hospital-acquired infections, also referred to as health care-associated infections (HAI in both cases) can occur for any number of reasons. The most common are the following:

Respiratory infections

Some viruses can be contracted just by breathing them. When a person whose health or immune system is already compromised, it's easier for them to acquire airborne illnesses and infections when they're around numerous sick people.

Device-related infections

These typically occur when a device like a catheter, IV, ventilator or respirator hasn't been properly sterilized.

Surgical site infections (SSI)

These occur on or near the area where an incision was made to operate on someone. It can be caused by unclean conditions during the surgery or while the incision site was being cared for after the procedure.

It can be difficult to pinpoint precisely when and how an infection started. If a patient has already been released when they notice it, it can be more difficult to prove that originated at the hospital. That's why it's essential to bring any issues you notice to the medical staff's attention before you or your loved one is released.

If you believe that you may have an HAI-based medical malpractice case, it's wise to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible. They can work to get the information needed to determine the cause of the infection and whether the facility or medical staff can and should be held liable.

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