Patients often find themselves in hospitals and other medical facilities to heal and recover from illness and injury. However, in the most unfortunate circumstances, patients face the risk of developing healthcare-associated infections, causing their condition to worsen. These infections can negatively affect a patient’s health, even threatening their life.
What many don’t realize is that healthcare-associated infection and medical malpractice cases often go hand in hand. If you’ve suffered a healthcare-associated infection, Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, is ready to help you.
What Are Healthcare-Associated Infections?
A healthcare-associated infection, also referred to as a hospital-acquired infection or HAI, often develop when a patient is receiving treatment at a hospital, nursing home, rehab facility, or other medical location. HAIs are not at all associated with the ailment the patient is receiving treatment for. On the contrary, the patient is typically being treated for an unrelated issue when the infection presents.
HAIs often put patients at risk for further health complications. Unfortunately, these infections are often caused by a medical professional’s negligence.
Common Types of Healthcare-Associated Infections
There are a wide variety of healthcare-associated infections. The particular infections patients run the risk for depends on their specific situation. Some of the most common HAIs include:
- Surgical site infection;
- Central-line-associated bloodstream infections;
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infections; and
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia.
Hospitals are full of many kinds of bacteria. In many cases, HAIs are caused by some form of bacteria found in the medical facility.
Causes of Healthcare-Associated Infections
It can be difficult to understand how exactly HAIs occur. Commonly, healthcare-associated infections are caused by:
- Unhygienic practices,
- Failure to maintain a sterile environment, or
- Overuse of antibiotics.
In many cases, healthcare-associated infections are preventable. Nonetheless, if a treating medical professional is negligent in any way, this can open the door to infection.
Patients Most Often at Risk for Healthcare-Associated Infections
Certain patients are more high-risk than others. These can include:
- Elderly patients,
- Immunocompromised patients,
- Young children, and
- Patients hospitalized for long periods of time.
Patients that run a higher risk of medical complication due to HAIs are often closely monitored and cared for to prevent infection. In some cases, a medical professional’s negligence can lead to a healthcare-associated infection.
Parties Responsible for the Development of Healthcare-Associated Infections
Because multiple healthcare providers play a role in a patient’s treatment, they can all play a role in causing healthcare-associated infection. Some of the individuals and entities most often found responsible for the development of HAIs include:
- Other healthcare providers,
- Nursing homes,
- Rehabilitation facilities, and
- Ambulatory surgical centers.
Individuals, as well as medical centers, can be responsible for a patient’s HAI. In some cases, there are multiple responsible parties.
Is There a Case for Medical Malpractice?
To have a case for medical malpractice, you will need to establish medical negligence. Your medical negligence attorney can review the details of your case to determine who is at fault and establish negligence. Once your lawyer confirms there is medical negligence and the responsible parties are clear, you may be able to file a claim for medical malpractice.
The Use of Medical Expert Witnesses
Expert witnesses will play a key role in your medical malpractice case. Your lawyer will likely consult with a medical expert to help sift through the details of your case and positively confirm that medical negligence caused your healthcare-associated infection.
The only way you will likely not need an expert medical witness is if your attorney can establish a prima facie case of negligence. If the prima facie case is established, this means there is proof that but for the medical negligence, you would not have suffered a healthcare-associated infection and associated damages.
Medical experts can positively impact your case, working closely with your lawyer to help you get the recovery you need.
How Long Do You Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim?
If you have a claim for medical malpractice, you may need to file a lawsuit if you can’t reach a settlement with the medical provider and their insurer. However, it is important to note that there is a statute of limitations dictating how much time you have to file your claim. In Kentucky, a plaintiff has one year from the date of the malpractice to file their lawsuit. If the patient did not know of the malpractice, the clock will start running when the patient actually discovered or reasonably should have discovered the malpractice.
It is imperative you discuss your case with a medical negligence lawyer as soon as possible. Kentucky has a very tight deadline for filing your claim. If you fail to file your lawsuit within the year, you will lose the opportunity to recover for your injuries.
Consult with a Kentucky Medical Negligence Attorney
Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, has had the privilege of representing countless victims of medical malpractice in Kentucky. Our firm is dedicated to helping clients seek justice and get the compensation they deserve after suffering harm at the hands of another. Seth Gladstein has years of experience defending physicians and hospitals, giving him a unique edge. Contact us today, and let’s discuss your case.