Most people are aware that doctors have a legal responsibility to give their patients proper care when issuing medical treatment. This responsibility is known as a duty of care. But the duty of care extends beyond doctors to virtually all health care providers. It also extends health care entities such as clinics and hospitals. And should a patient be injured due to negligence on behalf of a health care facility, that patient or the patient’s family may have cause to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
In order to ensure patient safety, it is critical that all hospital employees and staff members be properly trained to competently carry out their assigned responsibilities. Many of these jobs involve making sure that the hospital’s facilities are clean and free of germs and bacteria. It is all too easy for a patient to develop a life-threatening infection if exposed to dangerous bacteria. This can be especially true if the exposure occurs in the surgical arena.
A Pennsylvania hospital has come under scrutiny recently after the discovery that some patients may have been exposed to Nontuberculous mycobacteria while undergoing open-heart surgery. The hospital has identified a number of patients as having contracted what is called an NTM infection. Five of the infected patients have died. According to a press release, letters have been sent to 1,300 patients who underwent open-heart surgery at the hospital informing them of possible NTM exposure.
An investigation into the matter was conducted, and reportedly the infections are connected to a heater-cooler machine that is in use during open-heart surgeries. It was revealed that the hospital had not been fully following the prescribed methods of cleaning the machine.
Infections can adversely affect the health of a patient and may even prove fatal. If you or loved one should suffer the effects of an infection that was caused by exposure to dangerous bacteria while in a hospital, you may have the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney could perform an investigation of your injury and help you determine how to best seek compensation.