Cleanliness, Sanitation, and Medical Malpractice

dirty hallway in hospitalA lesser known type of medical malpractice is that which arises from deficient hospital cleanliness and sanitation. Hospitals and medical facilities that are inadequately cleaned and sanitized can lead to dangerous infections and illnesses.

Medical Malpractice Is A Type of Negligence

Medical malpractice occurs when a patient suffers an injury as a result of a physician or other healthcare professional failing to provide the level of care required by professional medical standards. Medical malpractice is also referred to as medical negligence, as the departure from the required level of care is itself negligence. Negligence is the breach of a duty of care owed that causes damages.

Medical Malpractice Is A Failure To Provide Adequate Care

Examples of medical negligence include:

-failure to diagnose a health condition in need of treatment;
-failure to evaluate a health condition in need of treatment;
-failure to provide adequate treatment of a health condition;
-excessive delay in the treatment of health condition;
-failure to obtain informed consent from a patient prior to performing a medical procedure.

Why Deficient Sanitation and Cleanliness Practices Are Dangerous

You have probably seen at least one medical drama on television in which the doctor characters are wearing medical scrubs, masks, and shower cap-like hair coverings. The reason for this attire, which is also worn by physicians and other healthcare professionals in real life, is to prevent the spread of germs. This preventive mindset speaks to the unique problem faced by hospitals– They are where people go to receive treatment for dangerous germs (e.g. infections, illnesses, diseases), so, on the other hand, they are locations where individuals are at heightened risk of being exposed to dangerous germs.

Precisely because so many people (and their germs) are in the hospital receiving treatment, the hospital, absent adequate sanitation and cleanliness practices, is at risk of promoting a spread of germs. Coughing, sneezing, breathing, touching surfaces with unwashed hands – all of these things increased the likelihood of the spread of illness. And these aren’t the only behavioral elements of concern in a hospital; there is also blood. Whether due to an injury, surgery, or testing, blood is a reality in hospitals. It must be thoroughly contained in testing environments, and thoroughly removed from non-testing environments.

The scrubs, masks, and the other coverings worn by doctors and other healthcare workers are designed to protect both patients and workers. Containment is the name of the game. With so many different types of germs present in a hospital at a given time, measure must be put in place to prevent their spread. This is where rigorous sanitation and cleanliness practices come in to the picture. They are required of hospitals by law, and you, as a patient, should be able to rely on them. When a hospital or healthcare worker fails in the implementation of these practices, and you become ill or injured as a result, you may have medical malpractice legal claim against the parties responsible.

A Hospital-Acquired Infection Can Result From Deficient Sanitation and Cleanliness Practices

Sub-standard sanitation and cleanliness practices can result in a hospital-acquired infection (HAI). If you incurred an infection with 48 hours of a hospital visit or stay, it may be an HAI. If, while your immune system was already at risk due to the condition for which you sought treatment, you may have been exposed to bacteria from inadequately cleaned or sanitized instruments or facilities, including beds, surfaces, medical devices, and hospital staff. Symptoms stemming from an HAI may include inflammation, raised heart rate, elevated respiratory rate, fever, and increased white blood cell count. As you might imagine, these symptoms may overlap with symptoms you were already experiencing, so a careful investigation will need to be conducted to separate pre-existing symptoms from those related to an HAI.

What To Do If You Have Been The Victim Of Medical Malpractice

If you suspect you or a loved one have been the victim of medical malpractice resulting from substandard cleanliness or sanitation practices, it is imperative that you contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to receive compensation for present and future medical treatment, lost wages or income opportunities, pain and suffering, and, in some instances, punitive damages. Medical malpractice cases are highly complex, as medical experts must be consulted. All medical records related to the treatment at issue must be obtained. Such consultation and record gathering is time-consuming, technical, and specialized.

An experienced medical malpractice attorney will interview you about the treatment you received, and explain your legal options. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you have suffered a wrong at a most vulnerable time. Reach out to a skilled medical malpractice attorney today to work to obtain the compensation you need and deserve, and to hold accountable those responsible for your injuries.