Boca Raton Lawyers for Negligent Medical Facility Infection Lawsuits

Updated on 6/26/2023 – Note that Florida Medical Malpractice Laws have changed as of 3/24/2023. The most notable impact being damage caps.

There are numerous reasons why you may find yourself at a Boca Raton hospital. A medical emergency or illness may require you to seek medical care and support from a healthcare facility. You may be going in for elective surgery or meeting with your doctor for a routine procedure. Regardless of the reason, most people do not walk into a hospital thinking their lives will be severely impacted due to a hospital-acquired infection. 

Doctors, nurses, and medical technicians at healthcare facilities are responsible for providing their patients with clean and safe hospital environments and taking steps to prevent infection in patients. While some scenarios that lead to patient infections are unavoidable, studies show that proper sanitation, cleanliness, and isolation of infected patients drastically reduce hospital-acquired or “nosocomial” infection rates. Sadly, developing a severe infection while in a hospital is often the result of negligence by the hospital or medical staff.

As a top Boca Raton hospital infection attorney, Howard Grossman has handled plaintiff medical litigation since 2001. He and his staff have the experience to determine if your injuries resulted from negligence under Florida laws. If you or a loved one developed an infection while being treated in a Boca Raton hospital, you might be entitled to compensation. Contact the top rated personal injury law firm in Boca Raton to speak with our medical malpractice attorneys today about your case.

What is a Hospital-Acquired Infection?

A hospital-acquired infection is one that firstly meets the following criteria:

  • Occurred within 48 hours of admission to the hospital, or
  • Occurred up to three days after discharge from the hospital, or
  • Occurred up to 30 days after an operation, and
  • It happened in a healthcare setting where the person was admitted for a reason other than the infection in question

Classification of an HAI has additional conditions that require a thorough evaluation of a patient’s post-operative care and an overview of medical records by an experienced professional. Grossman Attorneys at Law has a team of medical experts to review cases and serve as expert witnesses for litigation when necessary.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Hospital Infections?

The most common causes of hospital infections are:

  • Contaminated medical instruments, objects, and substances
  • Poor use or maintenance of catheters and ventilators
  • Inadequate or improper medical staff hygiene
  • Contaminated HVAC systems
  • Over-crowded hospitals
  • Improper sterilization and disinfection practices
  • Reusing needles or syringes

Most causes are related to not following specific hospital policies, not utilizing proper hygiene, and not taking reasonable precautions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that hospital-acquired infections are the most frequent adverse events in healthcare worldwide. The CDC even reports that about 1 in 25 hospital patients will end up with at least one healthcare-associated infection.

While many situations can go wrong within a healthcare facility, not all hospital infections are the result of medical malpractice. One of the required elements for a viable case is if a negligent act occurred, increasing infection risk.

What Are the Most Common Types of Healthcare Facility Infections?

The most common healthcare facility infections are staph infections, surgical site infections, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia. 

According to the CDC’s HAI Prevalence Survey, the most common surgical site infections are found following colon surgeries, hip replacement, and small bowel procedures. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 20 hospitalized patients will develop an infection and that HAIs account for about 1.7 million infections and 99,000 deaths each year in the U.S. 

There are many specific types of nosocomial infections, but here is an overview of the most common issues seen:

  • Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE): About 9,000 people develop antibiotic-resistant infections every year, resulting in 600 deaths. Unfortunately, because the bacteria are antibiotic-resistant, this causes a higher fatality rate. 
  • Central line bloodstream and catheter-assisted infections: Central line bloodstream infection occurs when a catheter tube is placed into a patient’s large vein (usually in the neck, chest, arm, or groin) to draw blood or give fluids and medications. Infection occurs when bacteria travel down the line and into a patient’s body. Catheter-assisted infections occur in the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. Approximately 75% of hospital-acquired UTIs are caused by a urinary catheter being inserted into the bladder to drain urine. 
  • Ventilator-assisted Pneumonia: This is a lung infection that occurs in patients on mechanical ventilation.
  • GI Infections: One common GI infection is Clostridioides difficile, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that causes life-threatening diarrhea and gastrointestinal infection. 
  • Surgical Site Infections (SSIs): This type of infection can be severe, involving tissues and organs. One of the most serious SSIs is necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria), with a 30-40% mortality rate.
  • Meningitis: This infection causes a life-threatening inflammation of the meninges, lining the brain and spinal cord. Outbreaks have been linked to common procedures such as injections of methylprednisolone acetate, which is an epidural steroid commonly used to treat back pain in outpatient clinics.
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA): MRSA is a staph infection caused by bacteria resistant to common antibiotics (penicillin, amoxicillin, oxacillin). The most severe, life-threatening MRSA infections occur in healthcare settings.
  • Sepsis: Delayed diagnosis and treatment of a hospital infection can lead to a condition called sepsis, which is a life-threatening whole-body inflammatory reaction to an infection. It can rapidly lead to septic shock, loss of blood pressure, organ failure, and death.

What Are the Symptoms of a Hospital Infection?

Some of the symptoms to recognize a hospital infection include: 

  • The infected area is red, swollen, hot to touch, painful or tender
  • Body temperature is high (fever) or low (body chills)
  • Wound discharge (pus)
  • Foul-smelling wound
  • Swelling that goes beyond the wounded area
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Confusion, disorientation
  • A wound that does not heal

If you believe that you or a loved one are experiencing an infection while under the care of a hospital or medical center, you need to alert your health care staff immediately. 

Can You Sue for a Hospital Infection in Boca Raton?

You can sue for compensation if you acquired an infection in a Boca Raton hospital due to negligence. There is a two-year statute of limitations for medical negligence claims in Florida. This means medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed no later than two years after the negligent act or omission occurred or from the time it was realized. On rare occasions, courts may hear incidents involving older malpractice claims, but these typically involve ongoing medical issues that make determining an exact date of occurrence difficult. 

What Compensation Can I Receive From a Boca Raton Hospital Infection Lawsuit?

Injured parties may be awarded the following compensation for a Boca Raton hospital infection lawsuit: 

  • Loss of past income and future earnings;
  • Medical bills, past and future; 
  • Any financial losses related to the injuries; and
  • Pain and suffering, considered non-economic losses

For a practitioner’s negligence that results in personal injury or wrongful death, the practitioner may be held liable for non-economic damages up to $500,000. If the negligence caused a permanent vegetative state or death, the practitioner may be held liable for up to $1 million in non-economic damages. Compensation for lost income, medical bills, and related financial losses have no cap.

Some medically-related lawsuits are not considered negligence and are instead subject to the rules of Florida personal injury law. A few examples would be a failed medical device or contaminated medication – these would be considered product liability claims.

Despite the existing caps, Howard Grossman and his team have won and settled numerous multi-million dollar cases over the years. Unfortunately, many of these settlements are subject to non-disclosure and can only be advertised as a “confidential” amount.

How Can Our Boca Raton Hospital Infection Lawyers Help You?

If you or a loved one were injured while a patient in a medical facility, you need a skilled medical lawyer that understands the complexities of medical malpractice claims to handle your case. 

Medical attorney Howard Grossman isn’t just an accomplished litigator; he is a tenacious advocate for your rights. His firm represents families across Florida who have suffered from medical mistakes, product liability, and other personal injury claims to receive the compensation they deserve.

If you believe your family has a medical claim, contact Grossman Attorneys at Law today for a free case review. Our attorneys will evaluate your claim and let you know where you stand according to Florida law.