CHICAGO, IL, January 20, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- A new report published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that a doctor who performed joint replacement surgeries unwittingly infected several of his patients with the hepatitis B virus. The doctor became aware that he carried hepatitis B after accidentally sticking himself with a needle and undergoing routine blood testing; later, he performed a number of knee and joint replacements and it came to light that eight of his former patients had been infected with hepatitis B. Some of them were infected with a hepatitis B virus that was genetically identical to the one seen in the surgeon, indicating that these patients likely caught the virus from the doctor.
Although a surgeon spreading hepatitis in a medical setting is somewhat of a rarity, many types of hospital-acquired infections - also known as healthcare-associated infections - are all too common. From surgical negligence to poor hand hygiene by nurses, pathogens can be easily spread when medical practitioners make even the slightest mistakes; if you or a loved one has been impacted by a healthcare-associated infection, you may be entitled to compensation from your caregivers.
Drug-resistant pathogens on the rise in hospitals
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, between 5 and 10 percent of all patients who stay in an acute care hospital contract at least one hospital-acquired infection. While some of these infections are relatively harmless, others can be life threatening and there is evidence that healthcare-associated infections are getting more severe as common bacteria become increasingly resistant to antibiotics.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or Staph infection as it is commonly known, is one of the deadliest hospital-acquired infections that is becoming increasingly antibiotic-resistant. Government figures indicate that the percentage of Staph infections that were resistant to antibiotics rose from just 22 percent in 1997 to more than 60 percent in 2007. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that Staph infections kill approximately 19,000 people every year.
The prevalence of other drug-resistant bacteria, like vancomycin-resistant enterococci and Clostridium difficile is also on the rise in hospitals. The CDC estimates that there are currently 500,000 cases of Clostridium difficile annually in the U.S., up from 150,000 in 2001.
Simple preventative tactics can reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections
Even though many hospital-acquired infections are becoming more resistant to treatment, the good news is that they are largely preventable. Effective, proven interventions medical professionals can take to reduce infections include:
- Improved hand hygiene
- Taking patient contact precautions
- Environmental cleaning
- Active surveillance - or in other words, screening patients for the presence of bacteria upon admission so carriers can be isolated and treated.
A medical malpractice attorney can help you secure compensation
Medical malpractice cases can be complicated, and sometimes have to be taken to trial in order for victims to receive maximum compensation. But, it is important to pursue all remedies available under the law; the expenses associated with an infection passed on by a medical mistake can be great and varied, from additional treatment costs to funeral expenses in the worst case scenarios. In addition, victims of negligence may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.
If you have been the victim of a hospital-acquired infection or were otherwise harmed by your health care providers, take the first and most important step toward the compensation you deserve and contact a Chicago medical malpractice attorney
Contact the Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers, Steinberg, Burtker & Grossman
if you need help with a medical malpractice claim. Call 1-866-942-8024 or visit www.rickgrossman.com