Modern medicine is almost miraculous in its ability to treat serious injuries and illnesses. Patients today recover from extreme injuries and diseases with the help of medical treatment, and the skills of health care professionals provide hope for individuals injured in accidents across the world. While medical treatment is certainly a modern marvel, there are times when your medical treatment could put you at risk for other injuries.
We’ve talked about medical malpractice before, but we usually highlight issues such as surgical errors or misdiagnoses. Another type of error that can occur when someone is in the hospital for treatment is known as a health care-related infection. These infections occur during the course of appropriate treatments, often due to invasive therapies such as catheters or surgical incisions.
While health care-associated infections generally occur during required medical treatment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do consider these infections to be mostly preventable. This means that health care staff can follow guidelines for the treatments and monitor patients in order to prevent infections. In cases when infections do occur, providers should act quickly to keep issues from becoming more serious.
Patients and caregivers can help prevent health care-related infections by asking questions about procedures, understanding the risks and recovery needs associated with treatments and following provider instructions for aftercare. Even when instructions are followed, however, infections can occur and some health care-related infections have serious consequences for the patient.
Infections can increase the costs of treatment and the time someone is unable to work or earn money following a treatment. In the most serious cases, infections can result in loss of a limb or organ or even death. When infections occur that cause damages, patients may be able to seek compensation through medical malpractice claims, particularly if the provider failed to follow recommendations and guidelines for preventing infections.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Healthcare-associated Infections (HAIs),” accessed Aug. 28, 2015