Surgical Site Infections vs. Hospital-Acquired Infections

Hospitals are generally held to strict standards of cleanliness and sanitation to prevent the start and spread of diseases and infections. Despite these standards, there is still some risk of developing an infection while in the hospital for an unrelated surgery or other medical treatment. If you get an infection in the hospital, where you went to get better, you may feel worried and betrayed on top of the pain and discomfort you feel. Fortunately, the experienced trial attorneys at Kennedy Hodges, L.L.P can help you hold someone responsible for your suffering and financial losses. First, though, it is important to understand the different types of infections and their causes.

Generally, the term hospital-acquired infection (HAI) refers to any disease or infection developed while in a hospital or another inpatient medical treatment facility, such as a nursing home. These can be mild, such as a skin rash or a cold, and can be treated fairly easily. However, some HAIs can be severe and even life-threatening. One strain of bacteria known for causing especially dangerous health problems in hospitals and medical centers is Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).

Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs)

MRSA is extremely dangerous because it has developed resistance to almost all standard antibiotics, which means it is very difficult to cure. Over the years, doctors have tended to prescribe antibiotics far more than necessary as a preventative treatment or even as a placebo. As a result, certain strains of bacteria like MRSA have evolved the ability to survive these antibiotics in places where such drugs are common, such as a hospital.

Surgical Site Infections (SSIs)

A surgical site infection (SSI) is one specific type of HAI that refers to infections in or around a surgical wound. These can be external, causing pain and difficulty healing from surgery. Even more dangerous are the internal SSIs caused by bacteria deep in a surgical wound or around an implant or device. Some surgeries-like orthopedic-are particularly vulnerable to SSIs unless strict sterility protocols are followed.

Most SSIs are entirely preventable, yet, tens of thousands of patients fall victim to SSIs each year. We believe that badly designed Forced Air Warming (FAW) systems in the operating room may be contributing to a nationwide rise in SSIs. Keeping the patient warm, as these systems do, is definitely helpful in preventing infections. However, if the hot air disrupts the purified air coming downward from the Laminar Flow system, dirty, bacteria-filled air can flow into the surgical site. Even worse, some FAW systems are internally contaminated and blow millions of germ-sized particles into the Operating Room each hour.

Your Legal Options

When you go to a hospital or medical facility, you expect to get better, not sicker. Therefore, if you contract an infection there, it is perfectly understandable to feel angry and betrayed. This adds to the stress and pain of the SSI, endangering your health and your income.

If you want to hold someone accountable and get the compensation you deserve, please contact the Houston medical injury lawyers at Kennedy Hodges, L.L.P to schedule your consultation.