New York City Post-Operative Infections Lawyer
Proper patient monitoring and care are critical after an operation. Anesthesia and surgery leave the body in a weakened state with a suppressed immune system. In this condition, the patient is susceptible to infection at the surgery site as well as other areas of the body where a catheter, IV or central line is inserted. Post-operative infections can cause severe injury and even death to a patient recuperating from a surgical procedure.
The fact that infections can occur during and after surgery and other invasive procedures is well-known and understood by the medical community. Post-operative infections can be prevented with simple measures by medical staff such as washing hands and wearing gloves before interacting with the patient. Failure to prevent a post-operative infection could be a sign that medical staff was negligent or hospital protocols were insufficient.
Medical malpractice attorney Michael Gunzburg holds New York City hospitals accountable when their administrative failures or the negligence of staff members results in a post-operative infection that could have been avoided. Michael Gunzburg, P.C., shines a light on negligent hospital practices to improve patient safety while helping his clients get compensation for the costs of additional harm done and the needless pain and suffering they have been forced to endure. Call Michael Gunzburg, P.C., if you or a loved one caught an infection after surgery in a New York City hospital in Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens.
Hospital Infections Are Among the Worst Infections One Can Get
Estimates of hospital-acquired infections, also called nosocomial infections, among patients range from one in 25 patients to one in every ten. As many as 20% of patients in an ICU are thought to acquire an infection during their stay in what should be the cleanest and most carefully monitored area of the hospital. These numbers are so great – 650,000 infections and 75,000 fatal cases each year – that hospital-acquired infections rank in the top ten causes of death in the United States.
Here are some of the ways hospitals let patients get infected through their negligence:
- Leaving an IV line or catheter inserted longer than is necessary
- Using incision closures and bandages that must be changed often, instead of safer alternatives such as surgical glue or waterproof dressings
- Failing to wash hands before checking a patient’s post-op site
- Failing to isolate patients who acquire infections to limit and prevent spread of the infection
Hospital-acquired infections are particularly dangerous because patients don’t just pick up the garden variety bug like a cold or even the flu; instead, hospitals are home to a deadly group of infectious diseases caused by “superbugs” that don’t respond to most antibiotics or for which no vaccine exists. A couple of the most serious and deadly superbugs found in hospitals are MRSA and C. difficile.
MRSA. MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, meaning it is a staph infection that is resistant to the class of methicillin antibiotics. About 80,000 people get infected with MRSA each year, causing around 11,000 deaths. Most MRSA infections are HA-MRSA, meaning the infection is acquired in the hospital. Research has found about 40% of HA-MRSA cases are due to insufficient hand-washing practices. Using surgical instruments that have not been sufficiently sanitized or inserting unsanitary hardware into the body (pins, screws, plates, etc.) can also result in a MRSA infection.
MRSA is a particularly virulent, naturally-occurring bacteria that has developed strong drug resistance. The antibiotic Vancomycin is needed to try and treat MRSA, but Vancomycin is itself a toxic drug that damages blood vessels and, therefore, has to be delivered into veins near the heart through a PICC line catheter.
Sepsis is a feared outcome of MRSA. With sepsis, the body’s immune response goes into overdrive trying to fight the infection, generating a dangerous inflammatory response that can lead to septic shock, organ failure or death.
C. difficile. Antibiotic-associated Clostridium difficile colitis, also known as C. difficile or simply C. diff., takes the lives of 14,000 people every year, causing gastrointestinal distress and severe diarrhea to thousands more who survive the infection. C. diff. is a bacteria that lives in the colon and is normally kept in check by the presence of other bacteria in the gut. However, dosing a patient with certain antibiotics can kill off those healthy bacteria and let the C. diff. take over, causing a life-threatening colon inflammation known as colitis. A patient with C. diff. will likely need several rounds of antibiotics to treat this highly resistant disease.
Other dangerous or deadly nosocomial infections include VRE, CRE, and gram-negative bacterial infections, which can cause pneumonia, infections in the bloodstream or at the surgical site, and meningitis. All of these infections are highly resistant to antibiotics and other drugs; they are difficult to treat and potentially life-threatening.
Hold New York City Hospitals Liable for Post-Operative Infections Caused by Negligence
Not every infection acquired in the hospital is the result of negligence or unsanitary conditions, but many are. Hospitals are aware of the danger of post-operative infection and must take reasonable steps to prevent infection to the extent possible. When they don’t, they can and should be held responsible for the harm caused by their failures. In New York City, attorney Michael Gunzburg holds hospitals accountable for this and other forms of medical malpractice. Call Michael Gunzburg, P.C., to look into your case of post-operative infection in Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens. We’ll take the time to find out what happened and why, and we’ll strive to get significant compensation to help you deal with the additional physical pain and psychological suffering caused by the hospital’s negligence.
Call 212-725-8500 to schedule your free, initial consultation with a compassionate and dedicated New York medical malpractice lawyer.