Healthcare-associated infections, typically referred to in the medical community as HAI, have become a significant problem in recent years, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Over 700,000 HAI occurred in hospitals and medical centers in the United States during the last year a full set of statistical data is available. In some instances, an HAI occurs because of the negligence — or malpractice — of the staff at a hospital or other medical center, clinic or doctor’s office.
HAI does not include the millions of other cases of infection that occur each and every year. Unfortunately, in addition to the negligence of healthcare providers being the cause of infections in some cases, medical professionals can also be negligent in the manner in which they treat an infection. The negligent treatment of an infection can occur in some different ways. The net effect of the improper treatment of an infection can be serious health complications and even death in some cases.
Failure to Diagnosis Infection
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences reports the misdiagnosis of millions of cases involving infections annually. In the gravest of situations, the inability to diagnose appropriately an infection leads to a serious medical condition known as sepsis (or septic collapse).
Sepsis is described by doctors as being an overwhelming response by the immune system to a persistent or, in some cases, a misdiagnosed and inappropriately treated the infection. Sepsis causes damage to the bodies organs because of impaired blood flow which deprives these organs of oxygen and nutrients. A stunning 28 to 50 percent of all people afflicted with sepsis die, according to the National Institute of General Medical Science. Death occurs as organs become so impaired that they shut down.
Reliable statistics on the number of individuals who face a situation in which they have not properly been diagnosed with an infection are challenging to come by due to the manner in which medical records are maintained. Also, often the failure to diagnosis is never detected, admitted or made known to the patient.
The failure to properly diagnosis an infection — when a reasonable medical professional under the same set of circumstances would have done a proper diagnosis — amounts to medical negligence of malpractice. In other words, a patient may be in a position to pursue a claim for damages, injuries and losses associated with the failure to diagnosis properly an infection.
Failure to Timely Diagnosis Infection
In a related vein, thousands of infections ultimately are diagnosed by medical professionals, but not promptly. A patient can suffer serious health consequences when a healthcare professional fails to make an infection diagnosis within the medically accepted timeframe. Unfortunately, in some cases, a medical professional learns of his or her error when a patient develops full-blown sepsis.
Failure to Properly Treat Infection
The failure to properly treat an infection may also rise to the level of medical negligence or malpractice in some cases. For example, within the medical community, their are accepted treatment protocols that exist for specific types of infections. If a medical provider deviates from these rules or standards and the infection does not abate or worsens, a patient may end up in a position to make a claim against a healthcare provider or providers for medical negligence or malpractice.