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Albany, NY Hospital Malpractice Lawyers

hospital negligence

In times of medical emergencies, patients entrust their health and well-being to hospitals and the medical staff who work there. Unfortunately, hospital errors and mistakes are a fact of life. For patients, the consequences can mean serious injuries or illnesses, and in some cases lead to death. Contact our Albany hospital malpractice lawyer today.

Hospital negligence can lead to sepsis, staph infections, hospital-borne infections and blood clots, among other serious complications. Victims of hospital malpractice should remember that claims for hospital malpractice are subject to a statute of limitations. It is important to have any potential claim reviewed by a competent hospital malpractice attorney in Albany as soon as possible following an injury.

Infections from Hospitals

Infections are a common medical malady. They often occur during or after surgeries or other medical procedures. Medical providers have a duty to help prevent patients from becoming infected during surgical procedures, and they also have a duty to carefully monitor patients following surgeries and other medical procedures. Post-operative infections can result from a nicked bowel, retained sponge or incomplete stitching. Sepsis or staph infections can result from untreated bedsores, urinary tract infections, or other infections contracted in a hospital.

Doctors can fail to diagnose an infection because they overlook symptoms, or fail to order blood and lab tests. Even if they order blood and lab work, they can misinterpret the test results.

Sepsis from Hospitals

Sepsis is a widespread inflammation of the body resulting from the body’s immune response to an infection. The inflammation can damage organs, and, in severe cases, cause a severe drop in blood pressure (septic shock) leading to organ failure. Sepsis is typically caused by a bacterial infection of the body. Hospital patients can be afflicted with an infection from bedsores, surgical incisions, and urinary catheters.

Common symptoms are: rapid breathing; changed mental status; fever; decreased urination; rapid heart rate; nausea; vomiting; or diarrhea. Anyone can contract sepsis, but certain groups of individuals are more at risk, including the elderly, infants, diabetics, individuals who have undergone surgical procedures, and people whose immune systems are not functioning well.

The key to treating sepsis is early diagnosis.  A doctor who suspects sepsis should examine the patient and run tests to look for bacteria in the blood; a high or low white blood cell count; a low platelet count in the blood; too much acid in the blood; or altered functioning of the kidney or liver. An X-ray or CT scan can also help diagnose the cause of an infection.

Septic Shock from Hospitals

Septic shock is a potentially life threatening condition caused by an overwhelming infection that leads to a sudden drop in blood pressure. Even if treated promptly, it can cause serious or even permanent damage to internal organs. Septic shock, typically caused by a bacterial infection, tends to afflict elderly or very young patients, or patients suffering from other illnesses.

Risk factors include: patients with diabetes; intestinal diseases; catheters that remain in place for extended periods; leukemia; lymphoma; or a recent surgery or medical procedure. Symptoms associated with septic shock are cool, pale extremities; very high or low body temperatures; low blood pressure; shortness of breath; low or absent urine; or skin rash or discoloration.

Septic shock is considered a medical emergency. Medical providers can perform blood tests to check for infection, low blood oxygen level, or poor functioning of internal organs. A chest X-ray is sometimes taken to look for pneumonia or fluid in the lungs.

Staph from Hospitals

A staph infection is caused by a Staphylococcus bacterium. More often it leads to skin conditions such as a boil, but it can also be antibiotic resistant or even a flesh-eating variety. Because staph infections are increasingly resistant to antibiotics, they are occurring in the general community outside of the context of health care facilities. Staph infections can turn deadly if the bacteria invade a person’s bloodstream, joints, bones, lungs or heart. Symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the infection and its location in the body. They include red, irritated skin; pus-filled boils; persistent high fever; or swollen joints.

Hospital-borne infections

Patient lying in hospital bed.An infection acquired in a hospital is usually related to a surgical procedure or treatment used to diagnose or treat a patient’s illness or injury. Wounds from trauma, burns, and ulcers may also become infected. Bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites can cause these infections (also known as nosocomial infections). Improper health care practices, such as inadequate sanitary conditions, often lead to hospital-borne infections. Fever is often the first telltale sign of infection. Other symptoms include rapid breathing, mental confusion, low blood pressure, reduced urine output, and a high white blood cell count.

Disseminated Intravascular Coagulopathy from Hospitals

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) prevents normal blood clotting, which may cause excessive clotting (thrombosis) or excessive bleeding throughout the body. DIC is a potentially life-threatening condition that can lead to shock and organ failure as a result of the blood’s clotting cells clumping together throughout the body.

A variety of health problems can trigger DIC, such as bacterial, viral or fungal infections; severe trauma, such as brain injuries, crush injuries, burns, or hypothermia; some forms of cancer; or complications during pregnancy. Excessive bleeding resulting from DIC can cause small red dots and bruises under the skin, as well as heavy bleeding from surgical wounds or body openings, such as the mouth, nose, rectum, or vagina. Organ damage can include shortness of breath (lung damage), low urine output (kidney), or stroke (brain damage).

A doctor may suspect DIC in a person who has excessive bleeding or clotting. Blood tests measuring the amount of blood platelets and other substances that affect clotting can help confirm a diagnosis of DIC.

Injured by a Hospital Negligence Error? Contact Powers & Santola Today

To schedule a free initial consultation with a New York hospital malpractice lawyer, contact Powers & Santola, LLP., online or call us today at 518-465-5995. We are here to listen and to help.