April 9, 2012

A woman in Virginia filed a medical malpractice case in late March, 2012 against a local hospital in which she claims she acquired a serious blood infection due to the use of an intravenus catheter (IV) that became contaminated while she was in the hospital in 2010 for treatment of a partial bowel obstruction.

During the woman’s three-day hospital stay, the medical malpractice case claims that nurses and other medical staff used her IV site to administer fluids, medications, and diagnostic contrast to her. The woman had to return to the hospital two days after her discharge when her arm became red, swollen, and tender. Blood cultures done at the time of her re-admission to the hospital determined that the woman had a rare blood infection known as streptococcus pyogenes (when this bacteria is present in the throat, it is commonly referred to as “strep throat”).

The woman’s medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the nurses and other medical personnel “handled, flushed, injected fluids into, or otherwise specifically acted in some way upon which the Plaintiff’s IV site which became infected during her stay…” As a result of the blood infection, the woman allegedly suffered from septic thrombo-phlebitis and metastic septic arthritis of her right knee that required medical treatment that included aspiration and washout of her right knee and long-term antibiotic infusions through a subclavian catheter.


Hospital acquired infections can be more debilitating and serious than the original conditions for which patients initially sought hospital treatment. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for patients to acquire infections during hospital stays that the patients did not have when they first went to the hospital for medical care. The infirm and the elderly are at an increased risk for serious or deadly complications from hospital acquired infections.

Recent efforts by Medicare and many hospitals to reduce the incidence of hospital acquired infections have been effective but hospital acquired infections continue to be a serious cause of otherwise unnecessary medical treatment, increased medical costs, and unnecessary pain and suffering.

One method by which patients can substantially reduce their risk of acquiring an infection while in the hospital is to insist that all of their caregivers in the hospital thoroughly wash their hands in the patients’ presence before touching patients or providing care and treatment, which has been shown to reduce the risk of hospital acquired infections.

Not all incidences of hospital acquired infections are due to medical negligence. It is often difficult to determine the source of hospital acquired infections or whether medical negligence was a cause of the spread of the infections. The professional services of a medical malpractice attorney may be essential in investigating the source and cause of a hospital acquired infection and whether there is a basis for bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

If you or a family member suffered from a hospital acquired infection, click here to be forwarded to our website or telephone us toll free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may be able to assist you in investigating whether you have a viable medical malpractice claim and to bring a medical malpractice case on your behalf, if appropriate.

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