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Do You Need A Need Lawyer for a Malpractice Lawsuit?

Lehigh Valley Medical Malpractice And Negligence |Console & Associates P.C.You visit the hospital when you need care, and you certainly don’t expect to leave in worse health than when you arrived. However, staff negligence and poor treatment conditions can lead to illness, infection, and even amputation. Now, your health is in ruins, your prognosis uncertain, and the costs of your medical care have skyrocketed. The medical bills for treatment that you should never have needed in the first place can put a huge financial burden on your family. Many hospital-acquired infections are preventable with proper care. If your providers were negligent and you didn’t get the care you deserved, you shouldn’t have to pay for their mistakes.

Hospital infections are often the result of negligence and malpractice. They happen because the staff was unable to provide quality care and identify warning signs early on. When you hire a lawyer with more than 25 years of medical malpractice experience, you get more than an attorney. You’re gaining an ally to help you fight for your health. We are familiar with hospital-associated infections and the impact they have on families.

This is already a difficult time for you, which is why you want us on your side. We know the law, and we know how to get you every penny you deserve. If you suffered from a hospital-borne infection, then you could qualify for compensation to cover your medical bills and other expenses during your recovery period. Our Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers listen to your questions, give you honest answers, and deliver the results you deserve.

Why Are People Suing?

Hospital room

On any given day, one in 25 patients has a hospital-acquired infection (also known as a HAI). These cases add up. More than 722,000 patients suffered from hospital infections in 2011 (the most recent source of data, according to the Center for Disease Control), and 75,000 patients died. This means that more than 10% of patients who contracted an infection in a hospital died from it. Infections are serious medical conditions. They’re also largely preventable.

When hospitals follow their own guidelines, serious infections shouldn’t be a common part of treatment. Infections arise when staff members fail to treat patients with the attention they need or provide patient care during the recovery process. Oftentimes, patients foot the bill for the hospital’s mistakes without realizing their pain and suffering wasn’t a natural part of treatment.

Expensive and Life-Threatening

Other factors show the full impact that infections like sepsis and pneumonia can have on patients. Hospital infections disrupt lives and can have lasting consequences.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information shared a study of four common healthcare-acquired infections to understand their impact on patient care. The researchers compared the rate of infections with significant patient effects like in-hospital mortality, length of stay, and inpatient costs. They found that the probability of dying increased for patients who caught infections, while their length of stay and medical bills rose exponentially.

  • Bigger Bills: Medical bills were twice as high for patients with HAIs than for patients who didn’t contract an infection.
  • More Time In The Hospital: The median length of stay for patients with HAIs were twice as long as those without.
  • Higher Mortality Rate: Patients who caught sepsis were almost six times as likely to die in-hospital care.

But it’s impossible to measure the true cost of hospital infections just by looking at medical bills. The costs to families and patients extend far beyond what they pay at the end of their stay. Patients miss work because of hospital time. Patients who die of HAIs are more than statistics; they are real people who died because of a lack of quality patient care.

Preventable Hospital Acquired Infections

The CDC also found that most healthcare-associated infections are preventable. The government organization works with healthcare providers to improve treatment care and prevent negligent treatment. When doctors and nursing staff are aware of infection problems and take specific steps to prevent them, rates of certain infections can decrease by more than 70 percent.

If hospitals take preventive steps to identify symptoms and treat patients early on, then there’s no reason for infections to spread out of control and become deadly. Hundreds of thousands of patients each year could recover faster from treatment and have lower medical bills.

If you or someone are among the 722,000 patients who suffered from a healthcare-acquired infection, then it’s time to speak out. You deserve compensation for your suffering, and your actions can help make sure that future patients receive better care.

How Much Can I Get?

surgeons working on patient

Every medical malpractice and negligence case is different, so the value of your claim depends on your unique situation. While looking at past cases can help you get an idea for how the value of medical malpractice lawsuits, they do not indicate what your particular case is worth. The best way to understand the full amount of money you deserve because of your hospital infection is to talk with one of our lawyers about your case.

Disclaimer: Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

$4.27 Million – Untreated Infection

A 71-year-old Pennsylvania woman underwent knee-replacement surgery at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, only to develop pain at the incision site, swelling, and drainage. Even though she showed common signs of post-surgical infection, the doctor discharged her from the hospital. At a follow-up appointment, the doctor took cultures from her right knee and determined that the patient had a bacterial infection.

As a result of the infection, the patient needed skin grafting and drainage of her wounds and underwent an above-the-knee amputation of her left leg because of the knee replacement hardware. What started as a routine knee-replacement surgery turned into an amputation because of an untreated (and noticeable) infection.

Along with losing her leg, the patient also lost her source of income. She was a waitress who could no longer walk around and serve customers.

A jury determined that the doctors and the hospital were to blame for the amputation and untreated infection. They awarded $4.27 million to the patient, including $127,000 for lost income and $500,000 for pain and suffering. Medical bills weren’t the defining factor in this settlement. The jury also took the patient’s future needs into account.

What Makes Up a Malpractice Claim?

To determine the value of your claim, we start by reviewing your medical expenses and course of treatment to determine if the infection could have been prevented.

Man and woman reviewing medical billsOnce we understand the financial weight of your medical treatment, we look at the hospital infection’s impact on your life and well-being. These factors also determine how much you are likely to receive in a malpractice case and can include stipends for:

  • Lost wages due to hospitalization
  • Future lost wages
  • Pain and suffering caused by the infection
  • Long-term effects that you will have to live with
  • Physical treatment you will need in the future

Your claim is about more than your existing medical bills. Your settlement or jury award will need to be enough to cover future treatments and lost income as a result of the doctor or hospital’s negligence.

When you work with dedicated lawyers like us, you can rest assured that there are professionals who care about your well-being. At Console and Associates, we take a big-picture view of your case to make sure we get you every penny you deserve.

Common Questions About Hospital Infection Lawsuits

We understand that starting a hospital-acquired infection lawsuit can seem daunting, which is why we are here to help our clients through the whole process.

Below are some of the most frequent questions victims of hospital infections ask us about their cases. If you have additional questions, call our office and speak to a legal professional about your malpractice case for free.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice and negligence cause many hospital infection cases. They occur when doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff fail to pay attention to the patient’s needs and ignore symptoms and problems that arise. These healthcare providers know what proper procedures are, but don’t follow them because they are too costly or time-consuming. As a result, they might fail to suggest an important course of treatment or suggest a treatment plan that makes the patient worse. Their negligence put you at risk because they put their own priorities above your safety.

Malpractice and negligence from inattentive hospital staff can lead to potentially fatal infections. Patients who survive still have to live with the cost of the hospital’s inattentiveness for the rest of their lives.

Is There a Statute of Limitations on My Claim?

The statute of limitations refers to the amount of time you have to file your malpractice lawsuit. In the state of Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for hospital-acquired infections is typically two years, though this varies depending on the nature of your claim. This period starts when the patient discovers (or should have discovered) that a problem exists. If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, you should call us as soon as you can.

Who Is Responsible for My Hospital Infection?

Most medical malpractice lawsuits focus on the doctors involved in your care. They were the ones who should have followed your treatment and directed a course of action. However, there are some instances where filing a claim against the hospital itself is the best course of action. The goal of a personal injury claim is to find out who is responsible for your infection and hold that person or entity accountable.

This is why we review every case on an individual basis and focus on your specific details. This helps our team determine the correct parties to include as defendants in the case.

Will I Have to Go to Court to Settle My Case?

Many of our medical malpractice cases settle out of court before the lawsuit even goes to trial. When this happens, we negotiate a settlement, one that will compensate you for all of the damages you suffered, with the insurance company representing the doctor or hospital. Settling out of court means that your claim will resolve more quickly, with less hassle to you and fewer costs to repay. However, not every medical malpractice claim can be settled without a trial. Sometimes the insurance company stubbornly refuses to give you the money you deserve.

If your case has to go to trial, we will be there every step of the way, representing you and preparing you for every part of the process. You don’t have to worry about your claim because we have been preparing for this possibility since day one.

How Much Does It Cost to Consult on My Case?

At Console and Associates, we’re so confident we can help you that we offer a No Fee Promise. If you retain us, we will represent you and manage your case without any upfront fees. We’ll advance any court costs from our own money, and you don’t have to pay a penny until we win. In the rare event that we don’t settle your claim, we pay all costs ourselves and you one us nothing. Seriously.

Another reason we handle every medical malpractice claim on a no-win, no-fee basis is that we don’t believe in billing our clients hourly. We want you to feel free to talk to us as often as you need to feel confident about your case. Finances should never stand in the way of you feeling informed. This is your claim, and you deserve to know what’s going on and to feel in the loop and in control.

Discuss Your Case Options With Our Professional Staff

Hospital-acquired infections should not be as common as they are. If you developed a hospital-borne infection during treatment, you deserve compensation for your expenses and your suffering. Call us for a free consultation.

Five Most Common Healthcare-Associated Infections

The CDC shared information on the five most common hospital-acquired infections. If you suffered from one of these problems during your hospital stay, you could have a viable medical malpractice and negligence case.

Infection Type – Number of Cases – Symptoms

  • Pneumonia – 157,500
    Hospital-acquired pneumonia is common in patients with weakened immune systems. Patients often get it when they’re exposed to other germs in a hospital setting. Symptoms include confusion, coughing with phlegm, shortness of breath, fever, chills, sharp chest pains, and decreased blood pressure.
  • Gastrointestinal Illness – 123,100
    The most common gastrointestinal illness occurs when hospital patients receive antibiotics. Some chemicals disrupt gut microbes and let bacteria take over. Germs on hospital surfaces can also cause these infections. Symptoms include contagious diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain.
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) – 93,300
    UTIs are often the result of improper catheter use or bacteria along the line. Hospitals use catheters to monitor the flow of urine and help patients who are unable to get out of bed. Infections occur when bacteria travel up the catheter to the kidney or bladder. They are often the result of hospital staff leaving catheters in longer than necessary. Symptoms include bloody urine, abdominal discomfort, painful urine, and fever associated with the infection.
  • Primary Bloodstream Infections (Sepsis) – 71,900
    Sepsis is one kind of primary bloodstream infection and occurs when chemicals meant to fight infection actually trigger inflammation. This affects multiple organ systems, leading them to fail. Symptoms include fever and higher respiratory rates, which can progress to difficulty breathing, changes in mental state, and reduced urine output.
  • Surgical Site Infections – 157,500
    This infection occurs at the surgical site and around where the patient received the operation. These infections can infect internal tissues and organs, making them hard to see and diagnose. Symptoms include swelling and pain around the site, fever, chills, and nausea. Symptoms can vary depending on the location of the infection.
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