Preventable Post-Surgical Infections
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Kathleen M. Reilly with Brady Brady & Reilly, LLC.
Any surgery comes with risks attributed to both the surgery itself and the recovery process. Infections which develop after a surgery can be extremely harmful, painful, and result in more medical bills to treat the infection. In some situations, post-surgery infections cannot be helped. However, if a doctor or other medical professional failed to provide adequate levels of sanitation or made other errors in their treatment of a patient, resulting in the infection, the patient may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim.
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional such as a doctor, nurse, surgeon, or medical facilities, such as a clinic, hospital, or emergency room, does not exercise a proper standard of care, which results in the serious injury or death of a patient. Damages that can be sought in a medical malpractice claim may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. If you or a loved one have suffered from a post-surgical infection and believe medical malpractice may be involved, reach out to an attorney to learn more.
It can be hard to recognize an infection after surgery.
It may be difficult to recognize the immediate signs of an infection developing after surgery, especially if the hospital-stay time for the patient was relatively short. With the pain and general feelings of soreness associated with post-surgical recovery, pain due to infection can easily get lost in the mix. However, there are certain symptoms to watch out for that could indicate an infection has set in.
Signs of a post-surgical infection may include the following:
- Redness at the site of the surgery
- Swelling at the site of the surgery
- Strange smells from the site of the surgery
- Drainage from the site of the surgery
- Bleeding or blood-tinged drainage from the site of the surgery
- Soreness at the site of the surgery after it should no longer be sore
- Fever for more than 24 hours
It is important to seek medical care if you suspect you are suffering from a post-surgical infection. A high fever that lasts for more than a day while recovering from a surgery is a common indicator of post-surgical infection. Untreated, post-surgical infections are unlikely to go away and can lead to serious health complications.
Most doctors are highly trained and compassionate individuals.
It is important to remember that even with the best doctor, there is a risk of post-surgical infection. Doctors and medical staff are constantly working to reduce the rates of post-surgical infection by offering preventative antibiotics and dressing their patient’s surgery-sites with sterile dressings which in most cases are required to stay in place for at least two days.
If you have any questions regarding the surgery itself or how to care for the surgical wound at home, it is important to ask. In many cases a post-surgical infection is unavoidable, but it is important to know that your medical team is taking every precaution to try and prevent such a complication.
Remain attentive during the medical and recovery process.
It is important to remain observant while receiving care in the hospital after a surgery. Take note of how often your wound is dressed and room is sterilized, as well as whether your care providers are washing their hands and wearing protective gloves and other protection as necessary. If you feel that your medical team failed to ensure adequate sanitization of your wound and care setting, leading to an otherwise preventable post-surgical infection, it is possible that medical malpractice might be a factor. In these situations, it’s important to seek legal counsel from a medical malpractice attorney to learn about your options for physical and financial recovery.