Hospitals have a reputation as sterile environments, but increasing evidence
indicates that many hospitals and other healthcare facilities actually
harbor various types of bacteria and viruses that are harmful to patients,
particularly those recovering from surgery. The CDC estimates that in
2011 alone, there were 722,000 hospital-acquired infections in the United
States, leading to over 75,000 deaths.
The contraction of a postoperative infection can significantly increase
your recovery time or contribute to additional medical complications.
If you believe you contracted a postoperative infection due to negligent
medical care, our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Golomb
& Honik, P.C. may be able to help you pursue the financial compensation
you deserve and need as you rehabilitate.
Tell us about the details of your case during a
Request yours online or by calling (215) 278-4449.
Postoperative Infections & Medical Malpractice
Before undergoing a surgical procedure, you likely signed paperwork indicating
that you were aware of the potential risks, including the chance of infection.
While these forms may protect medical professionals in circumstances involving
unpreventable exposure, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice
claim if a healthcare provider's actions caused or raised your risk
for contracting an infection. In addition, the medical facility and attending
healthcare provider could also be held accountable for resulting harm
if an infection was misdiagnosed, improperly treated, or overlooked.
Complications from Postoperative Infections
When trusted medical providers fail to follow high standards of care, such
as taking proper sterilization precautions or re-using equipment, patients
can suffer the consequences. Infections can lead to lengthy hospital stays,
threaten limbs and vital organs, cause tissue necrosis, and even lead
to death. Some procedures have a higher risk than others for causing postoperative
infections to develop. In particular, abdominal surgeries carry a great
risk of infection-as high as 20% of all cases, compared to 11% for other
types of surgeries.
Common postoperative infections that are the result of medical negligence include:
- Bloodstream infections
- Necrotizing fasciitis
- Staphylococcus (staph) infections
- Surgical site infections
- Respiratory infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Viral infections
- Post op bleeding
Causes of Postoperative Infections
There are numerous reasons why a patient could contract a dangerous and
life-threatening postoperative infection. After surgery, doctors and nurses
have a responsibility to monitor the surgical site closely and watch for
signs of infection, increased drainage, or discoloration. Failure to monitor
patients closely after surgery is one of the main causes of postoperative
infections. Other causes include:
- Unsterilized surgical tools
- Unclean or unsterile bandages
- Failure to change wound dressing
- Unsterile conditions in operating room
- Wrong medications prescribed after surgery
- Failure to diagnose or treat infection quickly
- Leaving a foreign body inside of the patient
Signs of a Postoperative Infection
When an infection begins, the body begins to exhibit several telltale signs.
Surgeons, doctors, and nurses are trained to recognize these signs quickly
and take the appropriate actions to prevent the spread of the infection
and the worsening of the patient’s condition. If a post-surgical
infection is not identified and treated quickly, it could spiral into
a life-threatening condition.
Signs of a post-surgical infection include:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased respirations
- Increased temperature
- Chills or seizures
- Abnormal white blood cell counts
- Pus draining from surgical site
- Redness or warmth around surgical site
- Swelling around surgical site
- Pain in extremity or abdomen or around surgery site
- Increase in wound drainage
- Increased fatigue
Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation
If you or someone you love contracted an infection following surgery or
hospitalization and you believe that medical negligence was the reason,
you may be able to file a lawsuit. To learn more about your legal options
give our office a call today.