3 Things To Do If A Hospital Stay Made You Sicker

nursing home patients

Your Hospital-Acquired Infection May Have Been Prevented

Medical errors can lead to fatal infections and are now the third leading cause of death in the US. Johns Hopkins patient safety experts say these mistakes are responsible for more than 250,000 deaths per year and nearly 70 percent of the 1.7 million preventable hospital-acquired infections accounted for.

Hospital-acquired infections can be caused by viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens. The most common types are central-line associated infections, pneumonia, urinary tract infection (UTI), Clostridium Difficile (C. diff) infections, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), invasive Candidiasis, Septicemia, and surgical site infections (SSI).

  • Acquiring a central-line associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) in the bloodstream is one of the most common ways that a medical patient’s condition is made worse as a result of medical negligence. Most of these infections can be prevented with the correct insertion, cleaning, and care practice of a central line used to draw blood, or to give critically ill patients fluids and medications.
  • Clostridium Difficile (C. diff) infections come from a bacterium that causes life-threatening diarrhea. It can also be a side-effect of being given too many antibiotics.
  • Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs and can even occur in patients who are young and healthy. Anyone with a compromised immune system who is receiving treatment for a common health issue which requires a hospital stay could be particularly at risk for related complications from pneumonia.
  • A leading cause of healthcare-associated infections in U.S. hospitals, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the most critical antibiotic-resistant bacteria researched today and can be extremely difficult to treat. Symptoms of MRSA include red or swollen areas of the skin that may be warm to the touch. As MRSA worsens, the infected regions may become pus-filled, and the risk of infection can deepen. If not treated promptly, the infection can spread into the bloodstream and quickly travel to the major organs of the body.
  • Invasive Candidiasis is an infection caused by a yeast fungus called Candida that typically localizes itself to one part of the body and fatally affect the heart, brain, eyes, bones when entered into the bloodstream. Treating invasive Candida is expensive, will require an extended hospital stay and carries a high risk of death.
  • Unfortunately, just as frequent a problem as the others listed, surgical site infections occur after a surgical procedure has been performed. These infections can sometimes involve the skin only but can also be more serious and involve tissues under the skin, organs, or implanted material. Symptoms of a surgical site infections may include:
    • Redness and pain around the area where you had surgery
    • Drainage of cloudy fluid from your surgical wound
    • Fever
  • Urinary tract infections are typically caused by a catheter device used to ease with a hospital patient’s toileting needs. Both one-time use catheters and reusable catheters not being changed or removed, or neglecting to clean a patient’s body, are the common causes of this infection.

In a healthy person, white blood cells will usually remove bacteria from the body’s blood, but when an unusually large number of bacteria is present, they can become overwhelmed, resulting in the person developing septicemia. Septicemia, more commonly called sepsis, is an infection that can also occur in a hospital setting. When a person develops a bacterial infection in their bloodstream or in conjunction with the development of a severe infection in another part of the body such as the lungs (pneumonia), sepsis develops.

According to health officials, there are four types of infections that are often linked to sepsis, including the lungs (pneumonia), kidney (urinary tract infection), skin and gut. While the infection is more commonly occurring in nursing homes, a recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) report estimated that sepsis affects around 1.5 million individuals in the United States annually, causing the death of 250,000 individuals and responsible for 1 out of every three hospital deaths. There is no single symptom of sepsis, and it must be detected and treated early to avoid a fatal outcome.

3 Things You Should Do If Your Hospital Stay Made You Sicker

If you were injured by a health system’s negligence and your hospital stay made you sicker due to an acquired infection listed above, you may need to take legal action.

  • Although difficult, try to stay calm and seek the right medical team to support your ongoing recovery and rehabilitation.
  • Keep all information about your illness or injury organized. Take personal notes and collect evidence, including medical documents, statements, bills, communication with the hospital and insurance representatives, and all after-visit summaries.
  • Speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will review and evaluate your situation to determine how to proceed. In some cases, you may need to file a lawsuit to recover any losses caused by the injury.

You may also have received costly medical bills for secondary surgeries or treatments, lost time from work and your family, and suffered a great deal of pain and emotional distress. These are damages that may only be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Take Action Against Hospital Malpractice 

It should not be the responsibility of a patient to oversee the care provided by a trained and trusted medical professional. And doctors, surgical teams and care staff are expected to be highly qualified and skilled in their area of expertise, so therefore, assumed to be knowledgeable under the law which requires them to conform to a standard of care. When they fail to perform this type of care, and the patient is harmed, it may be grounds for a malpractice case.

If you have experienced medical malpractice in Chicago or throughout Illinois, take action immediately. Contact Levin & Perconti online or call us at 877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872 to set up a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.

Also read: Latest Statistics on Medical Malpractice

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