By Robert G. Sullivan, Esq.
Imagine undergoing a routine surgery, only to find out days later that while being admitted to the hospital, you contracted a serious, possibly life-threatening infection on the premises. Sadly, this scenario is becoming all too common in New York hospitals, as hospital infections kill more people each year than AIDS, breast cancer, and traffic accidents combined.
Despite historical claims from hospitals that such infections are unavoidable risks associated with surgery, the reality is that most hospital-contracted infections are preventable through adherence to simple hygienic practices. These practices include mandating the hospital staff to wash their hands and properly sanitizing all surgical equipment.
There has been a recent wave of medical malpractice lawsuits against hospitals for hospital-acquired infections. For instance, a jury recently awarded over $2.5 million to a patient who contracted a staph infection during heart surgery. This is just one example of many successful trials around the country.
There has been renewed pressure on hospitals to do something about the problem. For one, New York hospitals are now required to report their hospital-acquired infection rates to the New York State Department of Health. Second, Medicare now refuses to reimburse for certain hospital-acquired infections, a development that means hospitals will be forced to pay the medical costs associated with the treatment of these illnesses.
The high hospital-acquired infection rates are alarming, especially so given that these infections are easily preventable. As a patient, if you or someone you know contracts a serious infection while in the hospital, don’t always believe the hospital staff when they tell you there “was nothing that could have done”. Most likely, there was. Victims of such infections should consult with an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney. A New York medical malpractice lawyer will investigate the case, obtain your medical records, and consult with expert physicians to determine whether you have a claim.
By Robert G. Sullivan, Esq New york medical malpractice lawyer