Chicago residents pay thousands of dollars every year for health insurance, and they certainly have a right to expect to receive a certain standard of care by medical professionals when they need it the most. Too often, though, hospital negligence results in patients seeking additional costly treatments because of hospital-acquired infections or other medical errors.
While hospital-acquired infections are treatable when caught right away, infections can lead to serious complications and even death when infections go unnoticed or are not properly diagnosed. In addition to causing harm to one patient as a result of not properly diagnosing a hospital-acquired infection, hospitals may put other patients in danger of becoming victims of a serious or deadly outbreak.
Currently, a Veterans Affairs hospital in Pennsylvania is under investigation for the deaths of five veterans due to a possible outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the hospital. The hospital claims that only one patient died from the disease, but other families believe that their loved ones were victims of a deadly outbreak at the facility.
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia. It is caused when people breathe in mist from water that is contaminated with the bacteria. People who already have a weakened immune system because of old age, smoking or another disease are at a high risk for catching this disease.
Because Legionnaires’ disease is not contracted by coming into direct contact with a person who has it, but by breathing in the bacteria, hospitals are almost always complicit when people catch the disease. Improper sanitation practices, faulty building design, and pure negligence can all contribute to the spread of the disease. According to reports, the possible outbreak at the Pennsylvania hospital may have been caused by a faulty water treatment system at the hospital.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “CDC report cites 5 Legionnaires’ deaths in Pittsburgh region,” Sean D. Hamill, Feb. 5, 2013
- Our firm provides legal counsel to patients and families who have been harmed by doctors’ mistakes and hospital negligence. To learn more about protecting medical malpractice victims’ rights and seeking compensation for malpractice-related injuries and costs, please visit ourChicago hospital negligence lawyer page.