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Philadelphia Hospital Acquired Infections

philadelphia hospital acquired infection lawyer

We place our trust in medical professionals and hospital personnel to help us to recover from illnesses, injuries and diseases. The concept that a serious infection could be contracted through medical treatment is not generally known. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of people suffer hospital acquired infections (HAI) while being treated in a hospital.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that in a recent year, a staggering 721,800 people contracted healthcare-associated infections while being treated in acute care hospitals in the USA.

Dangerous infections can be acquired due to hospital malpractice during surgery as a result of the improper sterilization of instruments, reuse of syringes and needles, or the use of single-use medication vials for multiple patients. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and Clostridium difficile infections are common infections that can leave a patient with serious or fatal complications, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.  The agency reports that infections contracted in hospitals are one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the USA, and a major cause of morbidity (illness).

For an informative infographic on hospital acquired infections, click on the picture below!

Philadelphia hospital infection lawyer here to help you with an informative infographic

Common Types of Hospital Acquired Infections

Most patients believe that being under the care of a hospital the cleanest and safest places to be under medical care. However, hospital bacteria that leads to HAIs is prevalent, but most patients are unaware of the risks of these infections. In fact, a patient in a hospital can be exposed to extremely dangerous infections that can lead to serious or deadly complications.

The most common types of hospital acquired infections, according to the CDC, include:

  • Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections
  • Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections
  • Surgical Site Infections
  • Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP)

The CDC also reports that the following hospital acquired infections also are contracted by patients being treated in healthcare facilities:

  • Acinetobacter
  • Burkholderia Cepacia
  • Clostridium Difficile
  • Clostridium Sordellii
  • Enterobacteriaceai
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria
  • Hepatitis
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/AIDS)
  • Influenza
  • Klebsiella
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphyloccus Aureus (MRSA)
  • Mycobacterium Abscessus
  • Norovirus
  • Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
  • Tuberculosis

Many infections contracted in a hospital are very difficult to resolve, as the infections have become resistant to antibiotic treatment. A patient in fragile health who then contracts a serious infection could become extremely ill or die as a result of contracting one of these infections while under care. The CDC estimates that currently in the USA, about one in 25 patients acquire a HAI, and that 75,000 patients die every year as a result of these infections.

MRSA Infections: The Scope of the Problem

MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is a form of staph bacteria that has become resistant to certain antibiotics commonly used to treat infection. These hospital-borne infections can be severe or even life-threatening. It is imperative that all hospital personnel are alert to the dangers of these infections and practice proper sanitary procedures to check the spread of these infections. When MRSA gets into the body of a patient, life-threatening infections in the bloodstream, bones, joints, heart valves and lungs can occur.

A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that about 80,461 patients contracted a MRSA infection in a healthcare facility in the USA in one recent year. This infection is particularly dangerous as it can infect critical body systems, and is resistant to standard antibiotic treatment. The same study revealed that 26 percent of the MRSA infections were contracted in intensive care units, with blood infections the most common type contracted by patients.

Symptoms of Infection

Patients who have recently been treated in a hospital may begin to see symptoms within 48 hours of admission. Healthline reveals that about 20.6 percent of patients in Intensive Care Units (ICU) develop an infection during or after admission to the unit. The symptoms of a HAI, also called “Nosocomial Infections” include:

  • Inflammation
  • Discharge
  • Fever
  • Abscesses
  • Pain
  • Irritation at infection site
  • Rash

Causes of Healthcare Acquired Infections

HAI infections are completely avoidable. The processes in the hospital, including the improper sterilization of instruments, bad hand hygiene by hospital personnel, and improper sterilization of instruments used in invasive procedures put patients at risk of contracting a dangerous infection from another patient in the facility. The infections are transferred through unclean medical instruments or endoscopes.

Dirty medical equipment has led to deaths from CRE (Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae), and a recent case involved the deaths of several patients and 179 others who may have been exposed in just one hospital alone. Other causes include unclean arthroscopic shavers, reused single-use biopsy forceps.

A recent report from the Center for Public Integrity revealed that filthy medical implements are showing up in cases of HAI with an alarming regularity. Veterans treated in the VA have also been reported to have contracted serious infections as well. Some of the more dangerous infections contracted include HIV, Hepatitis B or C, associated with the transmission of infectious material through the use of dirty endoscopes.

Complications: Infections from Surgery

Post-surgery complications are unfortunately very common. Any surgery poses health risks, as the patient is under anesthetic, and body tissue is pierced, whether the procedure is minor or major. Once the skin has been cut, infections can be transferred into the body of the patient with unclean medical instruments. The CDC reports that 31 percent of HAI are associated with surgical procedures. Some of the issues the agency reports that increase the risk of a patient contracting a serious infection post-surgery include faulty:

  • Ventilation systems
  • Sterilization methods
  • Surgical techniques

Patients who contract a hospital acquired infection after surgery often suffer very serious complications, and some of these infections are extremely dangerous, as antibiotics that once were capable of treating these infections are becoming ineffective. Antibiotic-resistant infections may cause a patient to become extremely ill or die as a result. The CDC reports that in a recent year, there were an estimated 157,000 HAI cases associated with in-patient surgeries.

How The Colleran Firm Can Help

The Colleran Firm is an established medical malpractice law firm serving clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. With a team of experienced Philadelphia trial lawyers actively working on each claim, the firm has recovered numerous multi-million dollars settlements in medical malpractice cases.

If you or a loved one contracted a HAI while at a hospital, and suffered serious medical complications or died, it is important that justice is served. With a legal team made up of accomplished professionals with the highest possible ratings, including being listed among Pennsylvania Super Lawyers®, and rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell®, you can be confident that your case will be managed with the highest level of professionalism.

If you have suffered from a hospital acquired infection, you are not alone. A Philadelphia hospital acquired infection lawyers, from a medical malpractice firm where most of the attorneys are family members, work in close coordination on each case. We are here to help you to pursue the compensation you deserve.

The attorneys at The Colleran Firm handle serious injury cases caused by health care provider negligence and medical malpractice in Pennsylvania & New Jersey.

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The Colleran Firm

2005 Market Street | Suite 1940
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-972-8000