Hospital-acquired infections (HAI) present serious health risks. Although it is believed that these types of infections may be reduced, it appears that recent efforts to combat one particular type of HAI aren’t having much success.
Clostridium difficile infection (also known as C. diff) causes diarrhea in patients and may lead to more serious complications like:
- kidney failure; or
- death in some cases, especially if it is not properly addressed.
Risk factors for developing this are those who take antibiotics and are hospitalized. Older adults are especially at risk.
According to a recent survey by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), regardless of efforts being made by hospitals to stop the spread of C. diff, the rates continue to be high. It is believed that every year in the United States about 14,000 people lose their lives to this infection.
Despite findings that suggest 70 percent of healthcare facilities had made efforts to prevent the spread of C. diff, only 42 percent have noticed a decrease in the number of patients afflicted. Another 43 percent have not seen a difference.
This suggests that stronger measures need to be taken. It is especially apparent since 64 percent of the respondents to the survey indicate relying upon observation to ensure the effectiveness of cleaning efforts. There may be greater improvements if hospitals relied instead on monitoring technologies.
Can a hospital be held liable for injuries caused by an infection?
There are circumstances under which a hospital could be liable for serious injuries stemming from an infection. It would first need to be proven that there was a deviation from the standard of care that is expected. Failing to sanitize and clean are examples. So is a failure of medical staff to wash their hands. There would need to be evidence that establishes this deviation from this standard of care.
It would also need to be proven that the injuries the victim suffered are tied to the hospital’s negligence. There must have been damages suffered, which an attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates may be able to help determine and establish when pursuing a claim against a hospital for a hospital acquired infection like C. diff.