If you or a loved one acquired an infection while in the hospital or undergoing medical treatment, you know just how serious a complication an infection can be. Untreated, mistreated, or missed infections can result in catastrophic injuries—even death. In many cases, being exposed to an infectious disease isn’t just bad luck—rather, it is the result of negligence or malpractice by the hospital or a medical professional. You may be wondering whether an undiagnosed or misdiagnosed disease is medical malpractice. What are your legal rights and the options you might be able to pursue?
How Can a Medical Professional’s Negligence Result in Serious Injury From an Infectious Disease?
Some specific actions tend to lead to malpractice-related infections. In some cases, they deal with the hospital’s failure to establish or enforce necessary safety policies; for example, an infection can result from contaminated surfaces as a result of insufficient cleaning, or from the hospital or facility having an insufficient infection control plan.
In many other cases, doctors or other medical professionals themselves cause an infection, by their failure to perform according to the professional standard of care. Improper use or cleaning of medical or surgical tools, negligent perforations during surgery or medical treatment, and insufficient handwashing or other cleanliness measures are just some examples. Moreover, a serious infection can result from a misdiagnosis, a failure to identify and treat the source of an infection, or the failure to prescribe antibiotics or other prescription drugs to stop an infection.
What Types of Medical Expenses and Recovery Costs Are Possible?
An infection can mean serious complications, particularly if the patient’s health is already compromised. It can mean fevers, fatigue, headaches, body aches, and other physical symptoms. It can also cause you or your loved one to miss work or school as a result of your symptoms. An infection can cause pain and suffering, discomfort, and a general inability to perform your everyday activities. In some very serious cases, it can also turn into a life-threatening disease, one which can ravage you with lifelong complications.
Recovery from such an infection can be lengthy and difficult. As a result of a medical malpractice-induced induction, patients often experience various types of damages, including:
- Medical and hospital bills
- Costs associated with doctor’s visits, medical tests, imaging, and treatments
- Prescription medication costs
- Lost income or wages due to missing work
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and psychological trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
- Disfigurement or disability
- A general decline in your quality of life
How Do You Know if a Medical Professional’s Negligence is to Blame for an Infectious Disease?
To prevail on your claim for damages, you will need to prove to the insurance company or a jury that the medical professional or hospital owed you a professional standard of care and that they deviated from that standard by causing the infection or failing to properly diagnose and treat it. You will also need to prove that the medical professional’s failure directly caused your damages.
To prove your claim, you will need to rely on evidence, including your medical and hospital records, sworn testimony of people who witnessed the malpractice, and expert testimony. The facts must be uncovered, piecing together the events that led up to your infection, whether focused on the doctor’s negligent conduct or the hospital’s faulty policies.
How Can an Experienced Malpractice Attorney Help?
Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, according to a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine study. Other studies show that millions more are injured. If you or your loved one were seriously injured by an infection as a result of medical malpractice, you need a strong team behind you, helping you recover for the damages you have suffered.
A medical malpractice claim can be complex, difficult, and lengthy to resolve. The insurance company, whose goal is to minimize payout and maximize profit, will use every resource to fight the claim. A knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer can help negotiate with the insurer towards a fair settlement offer. Should settlement not result, experienced malpractice lawyers can prepare a timely and relevant case, based on the evidence, to present on your behalf in court.
With over four decades of experience, our team of knowledgeable lawyers and medical experts, and access to substantial resources, JJS can aggressively litigate against negligent providers and institutions. We work to get our clients the answers and fair compensation they will need to have the best quality of life possible after being seriously harmed by their medical providers. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation so we can learn more about your case.
William R. “Topper” Cramer, RN, MBA, MS, CCRN, CFRN, EMT-P
Legal Nurse Consultant | Nurse Paralegal
Topper has been involved in emergency, transport, and critical care medicine since 1978 when he became an EMT in high school. A United States Air Force veteran, he remains active as a pre-hospital RN/paramedic, certified flight nurse, and critical care nurse. In addition to his professional role as a nurse consultant/nurse paralegal, he is the Chief of Operations at Walkersville Volunteer Rescue in Frederick County, Maryland. READ FULL BIO