Helping Patients with Hospital-Acquired and Misdiagnosed Infections
Medical malpractice lawyers serving individuals and families throughout West Virginia
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that on any given day as many as 1 in 25 patients will have at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI). That is four percent of the patient population. In many cases, the patient’s immune system was already compromised by illness when they entered the hospital, making them even more susceptible to infection than usual. How can this be happening nearly 150 years after the development of sterile techniques? The answer seems clear: some hospitals and medical professionals may not be observing proper standards of care.
Paulson & Nace, PLLC is a family owned and managed firm of West Virginia medical malpractice lawyers. We understand how serious the effects of a negligently transmitted, undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed infection can be on your health and your family’s, and on the health of other patients in a hospital setting. Too many patients have suffered needlessly because an infection was negligently transmitted from one to another by hospital staff who failed to adhere to proper sterile technique, or by medical professionals who failed to diagnose them. If you or a loved one has been infected in this way, let us help you as we have helped so many others. We are well-known and highly regarded throughout West Virginia for our thorough and compassionate service to clients and their families.
Undiagnosed and misdiagnosed infections and HAIs are almost always avoidable
Infections may go undiagnosed at doctors' offices, emergency care centers, and hospitals. Regardless of where the misdiagnosis occurred, it is likely that medical malpractice played a role. As for HAIs, the last thing a patient expects when they enter a hospital or doctor’s office for treatment is to acquire yet another health problem. In America’s acute care hospitals, some of the most frequent HAIs include:
- Ventilator-assisted pneumonia (VAP). This lung infection occurs in patients connected to a ventilator, a machine that assists breathing by supplying oxygen through a tube in their mouth or nose, or through a tracheotomy in the front of the neck. Any germs that enter the ventilator are forced into the patient’s lungs, causing pneumonia.
- Surgical site infections (SSIs). Post-surgical infections can occur externally, in the area of the incision, or internally in the part of the body where the surgery took place. They may involve only the skin, or may be more serious and involve tissue beneath the skin, organs, or implanted material. They may be caused by improperly sterilized instruments or dressings used in the operating room, or by unsterile changes of dressing afterward. SSIs sometimes take days or months after surgery to develop.
- Gastrointestinal infections. These are associated with prolonged antibiotic use, which kills off “good bacteria” in the gut. This allows Clostridium difficile (or difficile), a bacterium that can cause diarrhea and other intestinal problems, to flourish and cause illness.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs). These develop when germs enter the urinary system, affecting the urethra, bladder, ureters, or kidneys. They are most often associated with insertion of a catheter, a tube inserted into the bladder to drain urine during surgery and postoperative recovery.
- Primary bloodstream infections (sepsis). These infections occur when germs enter the bloodstream through non-sterile surgical instruments, improperly dressed surgical wounds, or non-sterile intravenous (IV) lines. They can be fatal if not identified and treated quickly.
Other illnesses or infections such as influenza, norovirus, and tuberculosis can also be transmitted in a healthcare setting. If a communicable infection is not identified during admission, the patient may be placed in an ordinary hospital room instead of in isolation. There are special isolation protocols for dealing with infected patients, including the use of masks and disposable gowns, to prevent hospital staff from spreading the infection to other patients. If the infection is not identified beforehand, the protocols may be ignored, and a large number of patients put at risk.
A misdiagnosed or undiagnosed infection or HAI may require additional treatment, an extended hospital stay, or more lost time at work. The worst kinds of infections, if undiagnosed and untreated, can cost you a body part or even your life. If you have been the victim of an undiagnosed or untreated illness because of medical negligence, seek qualified legal counsel immediately. For more information about your legal rights involving medical malpractice, speak with an experienced West Virginia medical negligence attorney right away.
Skilled West Virginia lawyers for undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and healthcare-acquired infections
Paulson & Nace, PLLC, our family-owned and managed law firm, is widely recognized throughout West Virginia for compassionate care and comprehensive legal services to families, and for our aggressive advocacy for victims of medical malpractice. When you choose a medical malpractice attorney from our practice to represent you, you are choosing a team that values families and family relationships. Please call 304-741-8079 or fill out our contact form to tell us your story in a no-obligation consultation. Our office is located at 3501 Maccorkle Ave SE, Charleston, WV 25304.
We have dedicated our lives to helping medical malpractice victims. Let us help you.