medical malpractice lawyer MemphisCan You Sue for Medical Malpractice Over an Infection?

Infection and medical malpractice are both complicated – and one may not necessarily cause the other.

If you’ve been infected after a medical procedure, you may understandably assume it was medical malpractice. After all, you wouldn’t have the infection were it not for coming in and getting healthcare. But as frustrating as it might be after an experience like that, medical malpractice is actually difficult to prove and comes with certain rules.

Our Memphis medical malpractice lawyers deal with these questions all the time. If you suspect malpractice and have questions about it, here are some things to keep in mind.

Defining Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional’s actions or negligence deviate from the standard of care, leading to harm or injury.

The “standard of care” is critical. Infections happen in healthcare situations all the time, and often no one is at fault. If your infection is the type that could occur to anyone in a similar situation, or if it happens as part of the usual risks of entering a hospital setting, you probably won’t be able to prove liability.

As an example, staph infections in particular are notorious in hospitals. While there are certainly things the institution can do to make it safer for patients, these types of infections can and will still happen. And it can be difficult if not impossible to prove who spread the infection and how. So as a result, you may not have a claim for this kind of infection unless something more unusual came into play in your case.

Proper Infection Prevention and Diagnosis

Healthcare professionals have a duty of care to patients, including taking measures to prevent infections.

If they don’t properly sterilize equipment or use inadequate hand hygiene, it could mean they’ve breached this duty.

In addition, they owe it to you to explain the risks of your procedure, including the possibility of infection. They should help you know the signs of infection for yourself so you can be a part of your own care.

Lastly, your doctors and their staff should always be prepared to diagnose and treat infection. If they see any sign of infection, they should get you the treatment you need as soon as possible.

It makes perfect sense that if they fail to do these things, it can cause serious pain and frustration. It could possibly be considered harmful or wrong. But for it to be medical malpractice, you have to prove their behavior caused serious harm and was outside the standard other healthcare providers would offer in the same situation.

Types of Infections That May Result in Malpractice Claims

Even air-borne viruses like the common cold can lead to infections – think sinus infections, for example. So it’s important to understand what exactly qualifies for medical malpractice.

First, to have a successful medical malpractice claim, you have to show the healthcare provider breached the standard of care. This may involve proving the infection resulted directly from someone’s negligence, failure to follow established protocols, or a lack of timely and appropriate treatment.

Infections could come as a result of lapses in hygiene, misdiagnosis, poor treatment, or surgical errors. With any of these examples, the infection needs to have been quite serious, and the fault needs to be clear. That’s why, often, a successful medical malpractice claim involves additional injuries besides just infection.

Some of the most common examples of successful cases relate to surgical sites, like if a surgeon leaves a tool behind that eventually causes an infection (and potentially additional surgeries).

What to Expect from a Malpractice Claim

If you think you have a medical malpractice case involving an infection, you should first speak with an attorney. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will talk with you about your situation and give you an idea of whether you have a claim.

If they decide to take your case, they’ll gather evidence on your behalf. This includes medical records, expert opinions, and documentation linking the infection to the healthcare provider’s negligence.

Any resulting compensation could potentially cover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the infection and its consequences.

The statute of limitations varies depending on the state. In our home state of Tennessee, you generally have one year from when you discovered the malpractice, and/or up to three years after the incident occurred. So it’s important to move quickly with any malpractice claim.

darrell-castleLegal Help for Infection and Medical Malpractice

Infection and medical malpractice can be extremely complicated and not always a slam dunk. Before speaking with an attorney, you should consider:

1) if your infection caused serious injury and

2) if it can be proven that the healthcare provider caused the infection through their negligence or wrongdoing

If so, our team of experienced medical malpractice attorneys are here to talk with you at no charge. We have experience with infection and medical malpractice, and we can give you an idea of what to expect.

To get started with a free appointment, contact us online today or call us at 901-327-2100.