Each day, thousands of individuals receive medical care in NYC hospitals and other facilities, necessarily placing their trust in the safety and cleanliness of those environments. After all, physicians, nurses and support staff all have a duty to follow strict protocols for the sterilization of equipment and instruments, the use of antiseptic agents, the washing of hands and the separation of those with infections diseases from patients without such conditions.
Unfortunately, lapses in those procedures occur more frequently than many would like to admit, causing serious injury and even death to an alarming number of patients each year.
If you developed a hospital acquired infection during or after your care, the law provides avenues for legal recourse. We at The Sanders Firm want you to know that experienced, compassionate help is just a phone call away when you contact our New York medical malpractice lawyers.
Statistics draw attention to hospital-acquired infections
A hospital-acquired or healthcare-associated infection (HAI) is an infection resulting from fungi, viruses or bacteria into which patients have come into contact while receiving medical care. Such infections are unrelated to the conditions for which affected patients initially sought treatment. Many such contacts occur during surgical procedures, ventilation, catheterization and the administration of injections.
An estimate from the Centers for Disease Control has suggested that roughly 1 in every 20 hospitalized individuals will develop and infection of one kind or another. The disturbing truth is that approximately 1.7 million such infections are recorded annually, with 100,000 of them resulting in death. If you have found yourself in the unenviable position of contracting a harmful infection while seeking treatment in a healthcare setting, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. A seasoned attorney with The Sanders Firm can help you explore your legal options and fight for the financial recovery you deserve.
Common types of hospital infections
The unfortunate truth is that despite the many hospital hygiene and sanitation protocols in place in every healthcare facility, certain types of hospital-acquired infections are actually quite common.
Some of the most frequently contracted infections in healthcare settings include:
- Urinary tract infections: these infections typically occur when a catheter is allowed to remain in a patient for too long of a time, with symptoms affecting the bladder, urethra, ureters and kidneys. These are among the most preventable of all hospital-acquired infections, yet they still occur with alarming frequency.
- Central line-related infections: these develop when bacteria are allowed to travel via a “central line” placed in a major blood vessel in order to deliver nutrients, fluids or medication. The result is a dangerous, systemic bloodstream infection.
- Ventilator-facilitated pneumonia: these serious infections of the lungs occur due to improper care and use of mechanical ventilator machines.
- Surgical site infections: these run the gamut between minor skin infections on the surface and life-threatening infections of organs and tissues. One of the most devastating surgical site infections is necrotizing fasciitis, otherwise known as flesh-eating bacteria. This particular infection proves deadly in approximately 3-4 out of ten cases.
- Meningitis: this infection impacts the critical lining around the spinal cord and brain and can be introduced via contaminated injectable drugs.
- Sepsis: this highly dangerous bloodstream infection can cause what is known as “septic shock,” producing a systemic allergic response in the body which can result in the failure of all organs and ultimately death.
- Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): this is an extraordinarily dangerous type of hospital-acquired infection characterized by its resistance to conventional antibiotics such as amoxicillin, penicillin and oxacillin.
- Clostridium difficile: this is another type of staph infection known for causing severe gastrointestinal infections, diarrhea and dehydration, and causes roughly 14,000 deaths in the United States annually. This infection is particularly harsh on elderly patients.
Potential compensation available
Not only can hospital-acquired infections be extremely painful and agonizing for those contracting them, they can cause financial ripple effects for entire families which last for years. At The Sanders Firm, we believe that every victim of a hospital-acquired infection has the right to seek justice, accountability and financial compensation to help mitigate the ongoing damage to their lives.
If your infection was the result of hospital negligence and breaches of prevailing standards of care, it may be possible for you to obtain damages for:
- Your personal pain and suffering
- Past, present and future medical expenses
- Ongoing care and rehabilitation
- Permanent disability
- Lost wages
- Funeral expenses and family support in cases involving wrongful death
New York hospital sanctions demonstrate scope of problem
It was announced in late 2014 that seventeen hospitals in New York City would be hit with sanctions running into the millions of dollars due to failures of the healthcare facilities to take sufficient safeguards to prevent serious infections and other complications.
Among those facilities facing penalties are major teaching institutions including NYU Langone Medical Center, Montefiore and Lenox Hill Hospitals, each of which will lose 1 percent of all Medicare reimbursements for the fiscal year. Brookdale Hospital Center and Kings County Hospital received particularly harsh assessments, leading to substantial financial penalties as well. The discovery of such egregious neglect of fundamental sterilization and infection-prevention protocols highlights the seriousness of the problem among even the most reputable facilities.
How The Sanders Firm can help
Though many common hospital-acquired infections are preventable with adherence to standard sterilization and antiseptic practices, their appearance in patients does not lead to automatic financial recovery for victims. It is still necessary to demonstrate negligence in a court of law, and doing so can be a complicated, arduous process.
For nearly half a century, The Sanders Firm has built a reputation as a true leader in New York personal injury law, affording us the ability to cultivate an expansive network of medical experts, case investigators, records reviewers and support staff. Together, our team possesses the tools and expertise necessary to demonstrate failures on the part of medical professionals to maintain the safe, sterile environment patients deserve.
Medical malpractice lawyers New York trusts
The NY medical malpractice lawyers at the Sanders Firm are currently reviewing cases relating to hospital-acquired infections and stand prepared to pursue actions on behalf of those who have suffered serious harm. Our team has secured in excess of $100 million on behalf of injured clients in just the past five years alone, and we pledge to provide each new client with the personalized attention and zealous representation they deserve.
To arrange for a no-cost initial consultation to discuss a hospital-acquired infection and the resulting damage, contact us at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY. As always, we will only collect a fee in your case if and when we obtain a settlement or positive verdict in your matter.
- New York Post, 17 NYC hospitals to be fined for infections, other complications, nypost.com/2014/12/28/17-nyc-hospitals-to-be-fined-for-infections-other-complications/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthcare-associated Infections (HAI), www.cdc.gov/hai/
- JAMA Internal Medicine, Health Care-Associated Infections: A Meta-analysis of Costs and Financial Impact on the US Health Care System, archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1733452