Rise Of The Super Bug: When Your Hospital’s Hygiene Practices Spread Disease

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nurse in maskIn February, the UCLA Medical Center made national news after an outbreak of a bacteria known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE. The bacteria, which is resistant to antibiotics, spread after a contaminated endoscope was used on several patients. Two people died, and five more were infected.

When a hospital is responsible for spreading a disease and making patients sicker, lawsuits always follow. Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs) are disturbingly common, and new, drug-resistant strains of germs often mean these infections have deadly consequences.

Every year, there are approximately 1.7 new HAIs, causing over 100,000 deaths. Infections are usually spread through contact with multiple patients; for example, if a nurse forgets to wash his hands or a doctor uses an unclean instrument, each person they come in contact with might get infected.

Doctors and nurses rarely get infected with HAIs themselves, because they are not as ill as their patients. In someone who has had surgery or has a serious illness, however, the immune system cannot fight off the bacteria effectively.

All medical professionals at health care facilities have a professional responsibility to provide their patients with clean and safe hospital environments. While a hospital will never be completely free of bacteria and other germs, the rate of infection can be drastically reduced by using reasonable cleanliness and hygiene practices.

By properly sterilizing medical equipment, providing hand washing and antibacterial gels to hospital staff, thoroughly cleaning and using antiseptic solutions, and keeping infected patients separated from non-infected patients, hospitals can reduce the amount of acquired infections.

If an infected patient can prove that a hospital caused his or her infection, and that the infection caused that patient harm, the hospital can be held responsible for medical negligence. This type of negligence is often proved by evaluating a patient’s medical records, reviewing hospital infection surveys, and evaluating the types of care and treatment the patient received for the infection.

This type of painstaking review requires a lawyer who understands both medicine and the law. Bradley I. Kramer is both a medical doctor and an attorney, and has the unique expertise you need to prove that an HAI caused you harm. If you contracted an infection while in the hospital, and believe it was the result of medical negligence, schedule a free appointment at the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. Our compassionate and knowledgeable team of legal and medical investigators will help you find out what went wrong, and will work to get you the compensation you need to recover from your injury.

For a free consultation about your case, fill out our online case evaluation form or call (310) 289-2600 to schedule an appointment.

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