When a harmful infection develops after surgery, it can raise questions as to how, when, and why the infection occurred. If the cause is inadequate medical care, there is a chance that the patient will have a claim for medical malpractice. But when it comes to post-surgical treatment, it’s important to remember that there is always a possibility of developing an infection, even under ideal circumstances.
On the other hand, there are certainly times where harmful (or even fatal) infections can be caused by doctors, nurses, or medical staff failing to properly follow procedures during or after surgery. Dangerous medical errors like this include using inadequately sterilized tools or devices, exposing a patient to unsanitary conditions, or improperly tending to a wound in recovery. If an infection occurs because of poor care, the patient could face the additional burden of taking on greater medical bills, an extended period for recovery, more pain and suffering, and in many cases, lost wages.
Florida statutes require health care providers to maintain a “standard of care” in their treatment of patients, which is defined by the customary and popularly accepted practices of professionals in the industry. Based on that standard, evidence that a healthcare provider did not conform to what other reasonable providers would do under the same or similar circumstances could help prove an injured patient’s claim that medical malpractice occurred.
Even if the development of an infection in a post-surgical patient cannot be prevented, a healthcare provider’s failure to recognize and/or diagnose the infection can cause serious harm to the patient, leading to sepsis, organ damage, or death. For these reasons, it is critical for medical professionals to be vigilant in recognizing signs of infection such as fever, swelling, pain, and redness as part of their post-surgical care.
Determining whether malpractice was the cause of a post-operative infection can be challenging and very case-specific because there are many factors that may have contributed. Regardless, if a patient has been harmed, or has lost their life due to an infection that developed in relation to surgery, it is best to speak with an attorney to find out if any legal protections apply and if compensation is a possibility.
Shaun Cummings is a Florin|Roebig trial attorney representing clients in Personal Injury cases. In 2016, Shaun was an instrumental trial co-counsel in the largest contested jury verdict in Hernando County, Florida history ($42 million). Click here to see his full bio.