Hospital-Acquired Infections- How Serious Is Their Negligence?

Updated on June 25, 2022

A hospital is a place that patients trust to treat them but sadly, they may end up acquiring an infection during the treatment. Commonly known as HAIs, Hospital Acquired Infections are more widely prevalent than you may believe. The good thing, however, is that healthcare facilities are becoming aware of their legal implications as these cases can land them in trouble with medical malpractice claims. Moreover, they also have a moral duty towards patients and need to adhere to certain standards of care. Hence, it becomes important for hospitals and healthcare organizations to take all the requisite measures to prevent them in every possible way.

The types of HAIs

Essentially, HAIs are the infections that patients get while being treated for a non-related illness or impairment. The infection can be acquired at any healthcare facility, whether a hospital or a nursing home. Here are the common types:

Respiratory infections: Medical facilities and hospitals are often infested with germs, viruses, and bacteria, which can be present in the air and on the surfaces. Respiratory infections occur when a patient inhales these germs or contracts them from a surface. They are common yet difficult to detect and deal with. The worst form of respiratory infections is linked to ventilator usage in hospitals. This is a piece of medical equipment that is meant to assist a patient with breathing. However, it always has a risk of transporting germs to the lungs through the tubes that are attached via the nose, mouth, or incision in the throat.

Surgical site infections: These infections, as the name suggests, happen at or near the surgical incision site. The possible reasons may vary from sub-standard operative and post-operative care, lack of proper cleaning during the procedure, or unsanitary rooms or materials. Such complications may also relate to an implanted device. The unfortunate thing about them is that a patient can experience them weeks or even months after the procedure, even after the incision apparently heals.

Device-related infections:  Another potentially serious concern is an infection caused by a device such as breathing tubes, catheters, and IVs. The use of low quality and unclean devices can cause serious complications such as sepsis, organ failure, or even death. It is best to prioritize hospital safety and buy quality devices from best brands and manufacturers. The best manufacturers, in turn, rely on medical-grade material and coatings that are the safest. So this is something hospitals must absolutely verify. 

The implications of HAI

Hospitals and medical facilities can often prevent infections by having proper hygiene procedures and sanitation measures in place. In case they fail to practice due diligence, the affected patients can file medical malpractice against the hospital. When it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits for HAIs, they are often complex for the patient and the hospital. Often, it is not easy to validate whether it occurred during the surgery or while caring for the wound. However, there is a major risk for healthcare organizations in such cases because their reputation is at stake.

Hospital-acquired infections can have serious implications for the hospital and care facilities that are responsible for them. The only way to steer clear of these implications is to go the extra mile with the adherence to safety norms. 

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