Harris Powers & Cunningham HPC Law Offices

HARRIS POWERS & CUNNINGHAM

Medical Malpractice, Car Accident, and Serious Injury Attorneys

Are infections a result of hospital negligence?

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2018 | Uncategorized

If you are suffering from an infection, you are likely trying to determine why. You know that you have to be exposed to the bacteria at one point or another. Your primary concern is that you were exposed during your surgery.

You overheard nurses stating that they weren’t sure if a pair of tools were sterilized. It wasn’t during your operation, but if they couldn’t be sure with another patient, would they be certain with you? Considering that you have an infection now, your concern isn’t without merit.

Medical negligence can lead to serious infections

Infections can result from negligence or errors. For example, if the hospital is not regularly cleaning with sterilizing solutions, then tools, walls, door handles and other items in the hospital may not be sterile. They become a gathering place for bacteria, and a place where it can grow and spread.

Not all infections come from outside sources, though. One dangerous infection, sepsis, is a result of a variety of causes. While an outside bacterium could cause sepsis, it’s also possible if your bowel is perforated or if toxins remain inside your body.

For instance, if you have surgery and a sponge is left inside, that may begin to rot or decay inside the body. Even if it doesn’t, the body may overreact to its presence, trying to fight it off with a fever.

When the body begins to fight sepsis, your temperature rises to over 101 degrees Fahrenheit or could drop to less than 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Your heart rate increases, and your respiratory rate increases as well. These are signs of the beginning of sepsis, which should be warning enough to get your medical provider’s attention.

At this point, patients should receive treatment to prevent the sepsis and infection from worsening. However, that doesn’t always happen. Sepsis can continue to worsen, which results in limited urine output, changes in mental status, difficulty breathing, abnormal heart rhythms or abdominal pain.

If this isn’t enough to draw the attention of a medical provider, the patient is likely to deteriorate further into septic shock. This includes all the above symptoms along with low blood pressure (extreme), that makes it hard to regulate the patient through typical means, such as fluid replacement.

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition, but it’s only one of several infections you could suffer in a hospital. No matter what the infection is, it’s wise to look into the cause. If you think you were exposed to a serious infection during your hospitalization, you should contact our offices so we can help you evaluate your claim.

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