The failure to timely diagnose and treat a hospital-acquired illness (HAI) can, of course, be considered medical negligence. If doctors and nurses stick their heads in the sand and fail to recognize the signs of a serious infection, it can tragically worsen the patient’s condition. That sort of neglect can form the basis of a viable malpractice claim.
As it turns out, infection rates vary considerably between hospitals. The difference in infection rates is now being traced to whether the hospital has adopted a culture of “attentive hygiene.” When hospitals take steps to improve that hygiene, infectious disease doctors and hospital quality and safety research groups are finding that most hospital associated illnesses can be prevented.
That doesn’t mean that every hospital-acquired infection is the result of the hospital’s mistakes.
However, the research does mean that in a case where hospital acquired infection has caused severe harm, it may be well worth investigating whether the hospital had any of these common sense infection control protocols in place, and more importantly, whether the hospital made a real effort to strictly comply with the protocols on a daily basis.