Am I at risk of a hospital-acquired infection in Virginia?

Whether we are in a doctor's office for a routine checkup or in the emergency room for a broken bone, one thing is certain-we're there because we want to get better. So how is it possible that 90,000 people are killed by infections every year in places that are supposed to be caring for them?

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A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimated that over two million people are infected in hospitals every year. The tragedy is that many of these hospital-acquired infections could have been avoided, since the common causes are entirely preventable.

Many hospital infections in Virginia result from one or more of these causes:

  • Poor sanitation
  • Non-compliance with health and safety standards
  • Improper wound care
  • Hospital understaffing
  • Simple negligence

Although hospitals have safety regulations specifically aimed at infection control, many facilities will make simple mistakes that result in patient contamination. Reusing single-use items, such as gloves, hospital gowns, or other disposable equipment regularly contributes to the spread of disease-and for a patient with open wounds or a weakened immune system, these simple mistakes could result in death.

Here are just a few potentially fatal conditions that can be contracted in Virginia hospitals:

  • Staph infection. One of the biggest bacterial infections caused in hospitals, staph infections are usually transmitted as a result of improper hand washing. Forms of the bacteria can cause anything from irritating skin conditions to meningitis and sepsis.
  • MRSA. This penicillin-resistant strain of bacteria is particularly difficult to eradicate, and is often found in patients with open wounds or weakened immune systems.
  • Pneumonia. Patients who require mechanical ventilation machines to breathe have contracted pneumonia through the various tubes that are inserted down their throats. Those who require breathing tubes longer than 48 hours, such as severely injured car accident victims, are at significantly higher risk of infection.
  • Gastroenteritis. Often called "stomach flu," this bacterial infection causes diarrhea and vomiting. While at best extremely unpleasant, this infection can be fatal to those who are immunocompromised, such as children and the elderly.

At Shevlin Smith, we have a duty not only to protect clients who are suffering in care facilities, but also to stop these facilities from harming patients in the future. Unlike other personal injury attorneys who have never dealt with hospital administrations, we are a team of experienced Fairfax medical malpractice attorneys: our knowledge of hospital regulations allows us to prove that your infection should have been prevented, and that you are owed considerable compensation as a result. 

If you have suffered an infection from a hospital stay in Virginia, call Shevlin Smith today at (703) 591-0067 for your free consultation.

Michael J. Shevlin
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Specializing in medical malpractice and serious personal injury cases since 1994.