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Failure to Diagnose an Infection in Time After Surgery

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Failing to diagnose a condition can be a difficult because it suggests that something or somethings have gone wrong in the patient during surgery. Medical negligence during a surgical procedure can result in infection, infection and sepsis (blood infection), immune system failure, damage to internal organs resulting in permanent injury and, in extreme cases, death. Surgical errors occur in a variety of ways: wrong site surgery, accidental lacerations or perforations of an internal organ, uncontrolled blood loss, or a foreign object being unintentionally left in the body.

Correctly Diagnosing an Infection in a Timely Manner

Detecting the source and seriousness of the infection is often a process by medical staff of narrowing down or eliminating a number of possibilities—through blood tests, radiological tests, and other types of lab work—to arrive at the potential cause. If done in a timely and thorough manner, treatment in the form of IV fluids and antibiotics can be administered. If a patient doesn’t respond to the first round of medication, alternatives that will work should be found. Physicians must also be willing to consult specialists to avoid letting their patients suffer needlessly.

Example of an Infection Caused By Possible Medical Negligence: Sepsis

Sepsis is a condition in which a bacterial infection reaches the blood, and the patient’s immune system has a strong reaction to it resulting in tissue damage, organ failure, and possible death. Septic shock is another term used when this happens.

Abdominal and intestinal surgeries are often dangerous for the very risk of sepsis when bleeding may go undetected in the postoperative period. Early symptoms are fever/chills, low body temperature, infrequent urination, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and rapid pulse and breathing. Ranging from less to more severe as it worsens, sepsis inhibits blood flow to key organs and can cause blood clots to form in arms, legs, fingers, and toes.

Patients at higher risk than normal to contracting sepsis are the very old or very young, patients with diabetes or cirrhosis, patients with invasive devices like catheters or breathing tubes, and patients who have wounds or injuries or burns. Close monitoring and charting by medical professionals is imperative to narrow the risks of sepsis after surgery.

The Danger of Incorrect or Tardy Diagnosis

Infections at the sight of a surgical incision or in internal locations may cause symptoms like fever, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, and swollen lymph nodes. Failing to diagnose a post-surgical infection can make other interventions necessary: a breathing tube, long-term IV antibiotic use, subsequent surgery, or oxygen therapy. These treatments are expensive and usually quite painful. If a patient enters a hospital for a relatively minor operation, he or she could end up with a serious staph or MRSA infection and go through a barrage of treatments that may or may not be successful.

For example, if a preventable staph infection invades the lungs, serious complications could arise. A hospital may not be responsible for a patient getting such an infection, but resulting harm based on failure to diagnose or treat the infection in a timely way is another matter.

Contact an Experienced Attorney for Surgical Neglect and Infection

Any surgical patient runs the risk of possible infection. Mistakes that may give rise to malpractice liability for an infection acquired during surgery include inadequate blood supply to dissected/manipulated tissue, dead space left to collect bacteria, or debris touching the wound.

If you believe your medical practitioner was negligent or you may have been subjected to medical malpractice you need to speak with an experienced attorney. Contact us online or call us directly at 888-207-0905. We will be happy to answer any questions during your free consultation.