Hospital Liability for Florida Medical Malpractice Due to Infection
Many patients head to Florida hospitals for surgical procedures or other treatment for serious medical conditions, expecting to receive quality care in a clean environment. What people don’t realize is that infections are shockingly common in the hospital setting. According to Patient CareLink, an online resource that covers a range of topics on safety in medical facilities, health care acquired infections (HAIs) account for 1.7 million infections every year. An estimated 99,000 individuals die annually because of associated ailments.
If you contracted an infection while being treated in a hospital or other medical facility, you may have rights through a medical malpractice claim. A Florida hospital negligence lawyer can explain in more detail, though some background information may be helpful.
Definition of Health Care Acquired Infection: An HAI is any ailment that a patient contracts at a medical facility that is unrelated to the condition for which he or she sought treatment. The infection may occur at numerous different settings, including a hospital, outpatient center, rehabilitation facility, nursing home, or any other clinical environment. The HAI will typically develop within 48 hours after the patient is exposed – which means you could already be home by the time symptoms manifest.
Risk Factors for HAIs: In short, infections occur because of unclean, unsterile conditions that enable the spread of germs among patients, providers, and staff. Certain risk factors increase the potential for acquiring an HAI.
- The duration of your stay at the facility
- The severity and nature of your medical condition
- The strength of your immune system and ability to fight infection
How Hospitals Can Be Negligent in Causing HAIs: Given the vulnerability of patients and potential risk factors, facilities must take necessary precautions to protect against infection. Organizations need to provide proper training on hand-washing, covering the mouth and nose with masks, and related precautions. Plus, from an organizational standpoint, a hospital may fail in their duties by:
- Failing to ensure overall cleanliness of common areas and patient accommodations
- Not properly sanitizing operating rooms, surgical areas, and other spaces designated for treatment
- Neglect with respect to the facility’s utilities, such as water, sewage, and garbage removal
- Placing residents in accommodations that are too confined or in unsafe proximity to each other
- Understaffing the personnel responsible for cleaning and sanitation
- Not cleaning the facility’s HVAC system or changing air filters
- Failing to sterilize medical devices, equipment and tools
- Improper sanitation of linens
Talk to a Florida Hospital Negligence Attorney About HAIs
To learn more about your legal options as the victim of an infection at a hospital, please contact Freidin Brown, P.A. to set up a free consultation. These cases can be extremely complicated, as it’s necessary to have in-depth knowledge of the relevant laws and experience advocating on behalf of injured patients. Our Florida hospital negligence lawyers have a specific focus in medical malpractice cases, including those based upon hospital negligence. We’re happy to meet with you at our offices to discuss strategies for enforcing your rights.