How did I get a hospital-acquired infection?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Developing a bacterial infection is common, but we may not expect exposure while already in a hospital. We go to the hospital to get treatment for a health condition. Acquiring an infection while there is the last thing anyone wants to happen.

When you have an infection – hospital-acquired or otherwise – there is a growth of foreign organisms in your body that may include bacteria, viruses and parasites. If you do not receive timely treatment, it may result in serious health problems and could be fatal.

What are the risk factors for infection?

As the name implies, a hospital-acquired infection (HAI) is an infection that you develop during your stay in the hospital. These infections are not present upon admission to a hospital. The most common ones include urinary tract infections due to catheter use, bloodstream infections caused by central line use, surgical site infections, pneumonia that may develop with ventilator use and hospital-acquired pneumonia, among many others.

There are factors that may increase your risk of acquiring an infection while you are in the hospital. One of them include the length of your stay in the facility as well as the severity of your condition. Your immune system’s strength may also affect your body’s ability to stave off infections.

Another factor that may cause you to develop a hospital-acquired infection is how sanitary the facility is, including the cleanliness of the HVAC and water systems and surfaces. The sterilization levels of devices and equipment may also play a role in you getting an infection.

The hospital staff’s efforts to slow down or prevent the spread of germs may be a factor, too. This includes regular and correct hand washing and the proper placement and cleaning of tubes, catheters and topical medication on patients.

When is the hospital is legally liable for HAI?

The hospital may be liable for HAI based on negligence. Establishing this type of case can require various pieces of evidence and expert testimony.

Those who are seriously injured after a HAI are wise to discuss this possibility with an attorney experienced in this niche area of the law.


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