HAIs: When Being in the Hospital Makes You Sicker
When you go into the hospital, you expect that you will recover, and get better. At the very least, you may understand that the hospital may not be able to help or improve your condition much. What you would not expect, but unfortunately, what does sometimes happen, is that you come out of the hospital much worse than you entered it.
Hospital Acquired Infections
One way this happens is through what are known as hospital acquired infections, or HAIs. As a general rule, an infection that is unrelated to the reason why the patient went into the hospital in the first place, is classified as an HAI.
Keeping bacteria and germs out of the hospital area is absolutely vital to patient safety, particularly given how susceptible patients are to illness.
But sometimes, patients in a hospital do acquire an infection. When they do, they may be able to collect compensation from the hospital, for the hospital’s failure to keep the hospital clean, or otherwise, for the failure to protect the victim from the infection.
In cases where the patient is only in the hospital for a short time before being sent home, the infection may not materialize until the patient gets home—that often means that victims don’t even realize that the illness they have contracted, actually came from the hospital.
In some cases, victims may blame their infection or the way they feel, on the reason why they went to the hospital in the first place, unaware that their infection is actually caused by a separate infection contracted by the conditions in the hospital.
Risk Factors and Carelessness
It is possible to get an HAI from any hospital, but certainly, some hospitals are more dangerous than others.
Hospitals may not bother to clean or disinfect common areas, like hallways, recreation rooms, counters, or shared bathrooms. Infection can come from the actual areas where patients are being treated, like surgical rooms, or from surgical equipment, or from diagnostic equipment (like MRIs or similar scans, where patients are in contact with tables and other devices).
Patients can even get sick from poor ventilation, like HCAC systems that are not effective. Even the bedding that patients lay on, can be contaminated if the hospital isn’t diligent about constantly cleaning them, and not cross-contaminating them with used or dirty linens and sheets.
Types of Infections
There are multiple kinds of infections that can happen in a hospital, and there is no one comprehensive list of them.
HAIs can include blood infections, Staph infections, urinary infections, stomach/digestive system infections, and localized infections (such as infection at the site of wounds or surgeries). They also may include just the same kind of infection you may get out on the “outside world,” with symptoms that mimic the flu or COVID or strep throat similar infections.
Injured in or by a hospital? Call the Boston personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of Joseph Linnehan, Jr. today at 617-275-4200 for help and for a free consultation.