A hospital-acquired infection, or HAI is a type of infection that is borne in a hospital setting or environment. They are typically contracted during hospital stays or visits. They are sometimes called nosocomial infections. Such infections are called "hospital acquired" because they often tend to "favor" hospital conditions, or are associated with contraction through a hospital visit.
HAI’s are typically caused by hospital staff errors when it comes to hygiene-related practices. For instance, failure to wash hands or sterilize equipment and beddings routinely can lead to infection. HAI’s are frequently transferred through direct physical contact.
What Are Some Common Types of Hospital-Acquired Infections?
Hospital acquired infections can take many forms and can involve different types of medical issues or conditions. Some common types of hospital-acquired infections include:
- UTI’s (urinary tract infection)
- Patient-to-patient infections through medical devices such as a duodenoscope or a Bair Hugger
- Various types of pneumonia (ventilator-related and hospital acquired types)
- Various bacterial or fungal infections such as Staphylococcus aureus
HAI’s are often associated with prolonged patient stays. However, some cases can even develop in shorter visits or during outpatient procedures. Some infections can also be transferred directly to a patient from hospital staff and workers.
Can I File a Claim for a Hospital-Acquired Infection?
A significant amount of medical malpractice claims are filed each year in relation to hospital-acquired infections. These lawsuits often result in a monetary damages award for the plaintiff, to reimburse them for additional medical costs and expenses associated with the infection.
In many instances, HAI’s have been the subject of class action hospital negligence lawsuits where large groups of people have been affected. In such cases, the hospital may be subject to various legal consequences (for instance, if it is found that the hospital has sub-par health and safety practices)
When filing a claim for HAI injuries or conditions, two aspects are often disputed: Causation and damages. That is, the victim must be able to prove that their infection was caused by the hospital’s actions; and, their damages must be of significant amount to be analyzed in court.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Hospital-Acquired Infection?
Hospital-acquired infections can often lead to serious medical conditions or injuries. You may wish to hire a personal injury lawyer if you need legal representation for a lawsuit. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice and can help you with any documents or forms as needed. Also, if you have any questions about the injury laws in your state (some states may limit medical malpractice damages), your attorney can assist with those as well.