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Can you sue for contracting a hospital-acquired infection?

When people get sick, they go to the hospital for treatment. However, so many individuals leave feeling worse than when they first entered the place. The illnesses that patients acquire while in the medical, rehabilitation or surgical centers or nursing homes are commonly referred to as hospital-acquired infections (HAIs).

While all patients are potentially at risk of contracting an HAI, some individuals are more prone than others to being exposed to such infections. Young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are those who are most vulnerable to getting sick. The longer an individual is in the hospital, the greater their chances are of contracting an infection. If healthcare workers fail to wash their hands, prescribe too many antibiotics or use indwelling catheters, then a patient's risk of infection goes up as well.

HAIs are a serious issue. Statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than 1.7 million Americans contract HAIs every year. Nearly two million people develop this type of infection every year. At least 100,000 individuals die from them. At least one-third of the HAIs that patients are diagnosed with are urinary tract ones. Another 20% are surgical site ones. An additional 15% are lung infections or pneumonia whereas 14% are bloodstream ones.

Those patients who contract HAIs tend to spend a week longer in the hospital than other patients with comparable conditions. They are also five times more likely to be readmitted after discharge and twice as likely to die. Those with HAIs have a 60% increased potential of ending up in the intensive care unit.

If you have become seriously ill due to having an HAI, then you may have a valid reason to file suit against the hospital or other Georgia medical care facility where you contracted the illness for negligence. A medical malpractice attorney can evaluate your case and help you decide if you should file suit.

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