When you go to the hospital for medical treatment, you expect to get better, not worse. Unfortunately, many patients end up getting sicker due to hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). If you or a loved one acquired an HAI, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the hospital or provider.
Common HAIs include:
- Surgical site infections
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs)
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia
- Central line-associated bloodstream infections
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- C. diff
How do HAIs occur?
In many cases, HAIs, also known as nosocomial infections, occur as a result of hospital negligence.
Generally, unsterilized equipment is one of the leading causes of surgical infection. Physicians or hospital workers who use unsterile equipment to treat a patient may introduce bacteria into the patient.
For example, UTIs, another common type of HAI, can occur if a medical provider places an unsanitized catheter in the bladder after surgery.
Pneumonia can also be the result of unsterile ventilators.
A hospital employee who fails to wash their hands before treating a patient may also be responsible for causing an HAI.
For example, if a nurse tends to a patient with a MRSA infection and then tends to another patient with open wounds, he can transfer the infection if he did not wash his hands.
Who is liable for my HAI?
Those who have suffered as a result of hospital negligence may file a medical malpractice claim to recover damages for their injuries. You may be able to name doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other medical professionals in the suit.
It is important to note that you will likely also be holding the hospital liable for your damages through the concept of vicarious liability. While this means you will likely be able to recover a higher payout, your case may be more difficult to prove.
How do I begin?
In order to have a valid claim, you must prove the following:
You will have to prove the doctor or other medical provider owed you a duty of care. To do so, you need to establish a patient-doctor relationship.
Medical records will help you establish this relationship.
You must also be able to prove that the medical provider breached the duty of care. All doctors have a duty to operate under the standard of care (i.e., the level of caution and attention another reasonable professional in the same industry would have offered in the same situation).
A medical expert in a similar field will likely need to testify as to what the industry’s recognized standard of care is. The expert will also have to testify as to why the defendant did not meet this standard.
You will have to show that the harm you suffered occurred as a result of the doctor or hospital’s negligence. Proving causation can be difficult for patients. Fortunately, you may be able to invoke “res ipsa loquitur,” a doctrine that protects patients in cases where the actual cause of the injury is unknown. Essentially, the doctrine assumes that the medical provider is negligent if that medical provider controlled the source of the injury.
Your injury caused you real damages (e.g., financial, medical, emotional). You can use your medical bills, medical bills, and paystubs to prove damages.
If you are able to prove these four elements, you may have a valid claim.
HAIs threaten patient safety and can cause severe injury or death. If you or someone you love has contracted an HAI due to medical negligence, please contact the attorneys at Montero Law in Fort Lauderdale. Give us a call to see if you are eligible to file a claim against those responsible for your infection: 954-767-6500.