Hospital-Acquired Infection Lawyers Serving Spartanburg and Greenville, SC
Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are conditions that arise all too often in South Carolina and across the country. In fact, a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine found that at least 1 in 25 U.S. acute care hospital patients suffer from at least one HAI.
If you believe that you developed a serious infection while being treated at a hospital or clinic in Spartanburg, Greenville or elsewhere in Upstate South Carolina, you should promptly seek legal consultation.
An investigation into the matter may very well reveal that the infection could have been prevented if staff had taken basic precautionary steps or followed established procedures. You may be entitled to compensation for the harm you have suffered.
To learn more about your rights and legal options, contact Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C. We can provide a free review of your case.
Common Types of Hospital-Acquired Infections
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the four leading types of hospital-acquired infections are:
- Urinary tract infections – This is the most common type of HAI, according to the CDC. This is because roughly a quarter of all patients staying in hospitals require a urinary catheter to drain urine. This tube may become contaminated with bacteria or other germs. The infection may impact a person’s urethra, bladder or kidney. An infected patient may experience fever, abdominal pain or a burning sensation during urination.
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia – This is another common form of infection due to the high number of hospital patients who require having a tube inserted in their mouth or nose to assist with breathing. Germs can travel through the tube and infect the patient’s lungs.
- Cather-associated bloodstream infections – This can occur when bacteria or other germs contaminate a “central line” or “central catheter” inserted in a large vein in the neck, chest, arms or groin area. The germs enter the bloodstream. An infected patient may experience fever, chills or soreness and redness in skin surrounding the catheter.
- Surgical-site infections – These infections tend to arise after surgery in the area of the body where an operation was performed. Germs may infect the skin or penetrate to deeper tissue or organs.
Another type of infection that frequently arises in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and dialysis centers is MRSA, or methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This is a type of staph infection that may be found on a patient’s skin and is often spread through tubes and catheters. The Mayo Clinic reports that older patients and those with weakened immune systems face a high risk of a MRSA infection.
Why Do Hospital-Acquired Infections Occur?
The failure of a medical professional or medical institution to provide care and treatment that meets accepted standards is often the reason behind a hospital-acquired infection. Examples of negligence that can cause HAIs include:
- Failing to insert a catheter in a vein where risk for infection is low
- Failing to clean hands with soap, water or an antiseptic cleanser
- Failing to wear a sterile gown, mask and cap
- Failing to clean the area where a tube or catheter is inserted or where a surgery is performed
- Failing to shave hair away from an area where surgical incisions are made
- Failing to change the bandage where a catheter is inserted or to change a urinary drainage bag
- Leaving a tube or catheter attached to a patient longer than is needed
- Using (or reusing) a contaminated tube or catheter.
In some cases, a hospital or other health care facility may fail to have procedures in place that are aimed at reducing the risk of infections. However, in most cases, the infection can be traced to a staff member ignoring establish protocol. An investigation may reveal that a facility has a history of infections, indicating an institution’s failure to properly train and supervise staff members or enforce its own policies.
Contact an Upstate South Carolina Hospital-Acquired Infection Lawyer
You owe it to yourself and your family to seek answers when you have suffered harm from an infection that occurred while you were being medically treated. If the infection is the product of negligence, you may be entitled to seek compensation to pay for any losses you have suffered, including additional medical expenses, lost income during your recovery and pain and suffering.
Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins can put its decades of combined legal experience to work for you. We will investigate your case thoroughly, consult with medical experts and take the steps needed to pursue just compensation on your behalf. Please contact us today for a free initial consultation.
Sources / More Information
- Multistate Point-Prevalence Survey of Health Care-Associated Infections, New England Journal of Medicine
- MRSA Infection, Mayo Clinic
- Healthcare-Associated Infections, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention