Nosocomial & Postoperative Infections

When a patient acquires an infection while in a hospital, this is referred to as a nosocomial infection. Nosocomial infections may be passed by improperly sterilized surgical instruments, contagious patients, and hospital workers with contaminated hands, clothing, or equipment. Many of the bacteria that cause nosocomial infections have adapted to survival in an environment of heavy antibiotic and antiseptic use. As such, they may be highly resistant to many types of antibiotics and can easily overwhelm the immune system of an already weakened patient.

Nosocomial infections are preventable if hospitals and medical staff follow proper health and sanitation standards. Practices such as quarantining infectious patients, correct disinfection and storage of surgical instruments and medical devices, and frequent hand washing on the part of medical staff are critical to patient health and safety.

Postoperative infections can be both dangerous and financially costly for patients. They significantly slow down recovery, putting patients at risk of further health complications. They are also expensive in terms of mounting medical expenses and lost wages for extra days spent in the hospital. While not all postoperative infections can be avoided, the risk of an infection can be significantly reduced with proper postoperative medication and follow-up care. If a doctor fails to prescribe appropriate antibiotics, or a nurse makes a mistake in administering the medication or providing appropriate care, infection can easily result.

Hospital patients who have developed serious nosocomial or postoperative infections may be the victims of medical malpractice. Contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to learn more about your legal options.

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