When a patient sees a doctor or other health care provider, he or she expects to receive treatment to become better. A patient should not see a doctor or health care provider and become infected with a new illness.
But that is just what happens to many patients. In fact, healthcare-acquired infections are fairly common and cause 99,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to this article in the LA Times.
Last month, thousands of patients and former patients of an Oklahoma dentist were notified by health officials that they should be tested for potential exposure to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C from the dentist’s clinic. Following an investigation, health officials discovered that the dentist had committed the following alleged health and safety violations, among others:
- Allowing assistants to administer IV sedation, which only a licensed dentist is permitted to perform
- Keeping incomplete drug logs
- Keeping expired medications
- Lack of safe and sanitary sterilization methods
- Committing gross negligence regarding dental health care decisions
Earlier this year, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles reported that a heart surgeon unknowingly infected five patients during heart valve replacement surgeries as a result of tiny tears in his latex surgical glove. Four of the patients needed to have a second surgery as a result of the infection.
If a doctor, dentist, or health care provider infects a patient with an illness or disease, he or she could be liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit since healthcare providers have an obligation to provide adequate, appropriate, and safe medical treatment. If a doctor or healthcare provider is found liable for a healthcare-acquired infection, the victim might be able to recover compensation for the following medical malpractice damages:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Household services
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability
Some medical malpractice claims for personal injury accidents where a defendant’s behavior is particularly egregious also allow a victim to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in similar conduct in the future.
If you have suffered a healthcare-acquired infection, contact the Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible medical malpractice claim.