Hospital Infection Lawsuits are on the Rise

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By: AboutLawsuits | Published: December 2nd, 2008

Medical malpractice lawsuits over infections acquired in hospitals are increasing nationwide, according to a report in the Maryland Daily Record. A number of hospital infection lawsuits have resulted in multi-million dollar verdicts recently, and a growing number of experts suggest that nearly all such infections can be prevented if certain steps are taken by the hospital and medical staff.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 2 million hospital infections acquired each year, resulting in about 90,000 deaths annually. Another 1.5 million long term care and nursing home infections occur every year.

Experts suggest that when hospitals follow certain steps and protocols, the hospital infection rate at a particular facility can be negligible. These protocols include frequent washing of hands, instruments and patient rooms. In addition, screening for latent infections in incoming patients can allow staff to take steps to prevent other hospital patients from becoming infected.

The Maryland Daily Record quoted Betsy McCaughy, founder of the nonprofit patient safety group, Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, who compared the rise in hospital infection lawsuits to asbestos litigation, which has resulted in over 600,000 people filing lawsuits. She indicated that there is overwhelming evidence that nearly all hospital infections are preventable.

The most common hospital infections involve bloodstream, surgical site and urinary tract infections.

Methicillin-Resistant Staph Aureus, commonly referred to as a MRSA infection, has accounted for more than 60 percent of hospital staph infections in recent years. The CDC reports that about 126,000 hospital MRSA infections occur each year, resulting in about 5,000 deaths.

As more hospitals and medical facilities have begun to follow protocols designed to reduce the risk of hospital infections, those that have not established the standards or enforced the rules have been found by juries to be providing care that does not fall within the ordinary standard of care for the industry.

In recent months, juries have awarded $13.5 million to a the family of a Massachusetts woman who died from a flesh eating bacteria acquired during cancer treatment and $2.58 million was awarded for a MRSA hospital infection that caused a man to lose a kidney and one leg.

In another Utah malpractice lawsuit filed for a woman who lost three limbs and multiple organs from necrotizing fasciitis, the parties announced last month that a confidential settlement had been reached before trial.

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There Are 10 Comments So Far • (Add Your Comments)

  1. i had hernia repair 4 months ago, i been back to the doc. 3 times since surgury, the 4th time i went to see the doc. was after i had a mri taken of colon and infection showed where hernia was, that doc. told me to go back to the doc. that did the surgery, my wife went with me , the doc. comes in with my chart sits down and asked my wife if the hernia came back? then he was telling my wife what he needs to do , my wife said not me..my husband, then he told me he needs to remove the mesh, im trying to find a different doc,since this doc. dont know who he did surgury on.

  2. [...] recent years, there have been an increasing number of hospital infection lawsuits filed throughout the United States, as many experts believe that many of these potentially [...]

  3. I had toenails removed at my doctors office and contracted mrsa I think they should be held liable

  4. I contracted MRSA infection during abdm hernia with medh implantation..

  5. I had a surgery almost two years ago. Starting having severe flank pain two weeks after surgery then two months later I started vomiting daily I was having trouble breathing threw up blood was bleeding vaginally was going to the dr and they couldnt find anything went to emergency room nothing my dr set I was depressed??? Ok so I went to a different dr and their pa did a urinalyisis and called me and placed me on antibiotics immediately found that I had klebsiella pneumonia. An infection that you get at the hospital via respirator or from the catheter. This infectiion has a 65% death rate if left untreated. It took them a year and a half before they diagnosed and treated me!!!

  6. I had a Aortobifemoral Bypass done in May. Had poor aftercare . In Hospital for 2 wks after surgery. , had huge bulge in one of my groins which i thought was scar tissue. After my release the bulge in groin went down slightly. When I went to my 6 wks check up – my surgeon admitted me to the hospital again for the groin bulge being an infection. Testing showed Coag neg epidermidis infection and was told I would be having surgery again the day after admittance to get infection out.

  7. I developed MRSA after back surgery, within 2 weeks I had 2 back surgeries, last one to clean out Mrsa contracted by the first surgery. Now the people who send the medicine are trying to bill me for the medicine….no way will I pay for something that should never have happened, any suggestions…. thank you kathy

  8. I had an emergency flank hernia operation on March 6, 2012. Before leaving the hospital the hospital removed the drain they had put in me, near the area they had place biological mesh to repair the huge hernia I had. On May 11, 2012 I was readmitted to the hospital with a MRSA infection after having chills and fever for about two weeks. The doctors, after doing a CT scan finding an infection, put in another drain to drain out the MRSA infection. After being on antibiotics for 30 days and then another 10 days I noticed that the original drain had begun to fester and ooze out a yellow like puss. I went back to the hospital to have it looked at, but was told it was just a superficial wound and that it would clear up. They did not do a culture test of the fluid, but evaluated this as a result of my white blood count not being up which they said indicated no infection, plus the new CT scan they took did not show another puss bag (no kidding and no wonder! It was all running out of me) While there my wife had me ask them to look at my right ankle that was swollen. After an untrasound they said I had a Huge blood clot from my right groin to my knee and kept me in the hospital for another 3 days. I since went to an Infectionist Doctor for a second opinion since the wound has not stopped oozing out this yellow puss for over a month and a half. The doctor told me that he would suggest I go back to the hospital I had the surgery done at and get it checked by another doctor because he would suspect the mesh is infected and will require surgery to be removed so the infection can be gotten rid of since it could, in his opinion, would eventually close and the fluid would build up and cause me to become very ill and could cause even more serious problems. I am scheduled to go to the hospital tomorrow for another health problems followup visit and intend to get a referral from this trusted doctor to a doctor he would consider favorable to deal with this. Sure hope there will not be need of another painful and long recovery operation, but all that is in God’s hands, not mine. I can see, however, such infection occur. Particularly after being in hospitals and seeing how poorly they are cleaned and infection prevention maintained. Wishing all well and would accept any prayers you all might be able to offer.

  9. I had a knee replacement at a local hospital i was healthy before i went in for surgery. two days in the hospital i was given cipro stating there was an infection in my knee. I was taken to a rehab. and they continued my meds cipro for 8 days. after i left rehab got home and started to get real sick ,diarehia, weakness and woke up with a severe swollen muscle in my neck i was admitted to the same hospital they swabbed my nose and it came back positive for mrsa ank the neck was diagnosed as myostitis they kept me 13 days and gave me vancomycin daily. what should or can i do for pain and suffering.

  10. I had an outpatient scope of my knee for torn meniscus, I was swabbed prior for MRSA which was neg. I also had a partial knee in same knee 4 years prior. # days post scope was readmitted for infection in knee which came back MRSA. The hospital has agreed to pay for all charges, deductables, copays meds. I have undergone 3 surgeries with an upcoming total knee replacement in a few weeks. I am a nurse at the hospital and think they should pay wage lost and cost of benefits, not to mention pain and suffering

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