Patients sometimes contract potentially life-threatening infections a few hours after they check into the hospital. Staph infections are among the most dangerous of such diseases. The hospital may be liable for medical malpractice if the staph infection occurred because of their staff’s negligence.
What is a staph infection?
A staph infection happens because of the staphylococcus bacteria. In healthy individuals, this microorganism might cause minor skin diseases. But in people with weak immune systems, it can go out of control and cause severe and contagious infections.
Unfortunately, patients usually have impaired immune systems because of their conditions or the medications they are taking. A staph infection may start in several ways, and how it manifests usually depends on the part of the body affected by it. Here are some of the common types of staph infection:
- Skin infections. The infection may manifest as boils or painful rashes when it affects the skin.
- Bacteremia. When the infection enters the bloodstream, it can damage one’s bones and internal organs.
- Septic arthritis. This infection occurs on the knees, fingers and other joints, even artificial ones.
When untreated, a staph infection can lead to sepsis and kill a patient.
When might the hospital be liable?
Failure to prevent and treat hospital-acquired staph infections may constitute medical malpractice. To minimize the risks, hospital staff should sanitize all tools and equipment, especially those used during surgery. Staff should also keep a patient’s open wounds clean and in a sanitary environment, particularly during post-operative care.
Moreover, hospital staff should observe the patient and diagnose signs of staph infection as early as possible. This minimizes the risk of the condition getting worse and more dangerous for the patient.
A staph infection can be highly dangerous for patients, so hospitals should do their best to prevent it from occurring. If the hospital staff’s negligence contributed to the infection, patients and their family members may consult an attorney to determine the best way to protect their rights.