Hospital infections are an increasing problem in the U.S. According to a study published in Gastroenterology, the number of deaths from one such infection, Clostridium difficile infection (also called c diff or c. difficile), have increased from 2195 in 2002 to 7251 in 2009 – a 230% increase. C. Diff is now the 9th leading cause of death from GI-related problems, according to the article.
C. Diff is considered to be a “hospital infection” because most C. Diff infections occur in patients who are in a hospital or nursing home. Currently, it is not possible to sue a hospital or nursing home in Ohio for causing a C. Diff infection because these infections occur at virtually every such facility. However, some studies show that with proper infection control measures and adequate nursing staffing, the infections can be eradicated. So, it is clear that hospitals and nursing homes are causing many unnecessary deaths. Are they getting away with it? Not always.
At Mishkind Kulwicki Law, we have been able to prove a claim for medical negligence arising out of a delay in diagnosing and treating C. Diff. Whether a negligent delay in diagnosis can be proven depends upon the details of the case. We will have to carefully review medical records, interview family members and, ultimately, depose caregivers to see if an avoidable delay occurred and led to a wrongful death. Preventable delays typically occur when a physician fails to order antibiotics while a test for C. Diff is pending, or when the nursing staff fails to report signs of a C. Diff infection (e.g., diarrhea) to an attending physician.
Hospital infections are often dangerous, since they can involve “super-bugs” that are antibiotic-resistant or develop into deadly strains. Also, hospital infections tend to infect patients who are already compromised by old age and/or other medical conditions. Unfortunately, Ohio legislators have chosen to protect hospitals and nursing homes that propagate C. Diff infections. This will not change until citizens take an active role in seeking change that promotes safe infection control practices. In the meantime, the only recourse for victims of negligent infection control practices is to file a lawsuit and seek compensation for injuries caused.