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Staph Infection Lawsuit

A staph infection is a contagious bacterial infection that is often contracted in hospitals when doctors, nurses, and other personnel fail to use appropriate sterilization and hygiene techniques. Staph infections can result in severe and deadly illnesses and may be resistant to antibiotics. A hospital staph infection lawsuit can help injured patients recover substantial compensation. 

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People enter hospitals with the intention of getting better. Yet thousands of people contract devastating staph infections that are sometimes fatal. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than 119,000 people suffered from staph infections in 2017, and 20,000 died. Most of these infections occurred in health care facilities.  

In 2021, the CDC reported 11,605 cases of methicillin-resistant staph infection, commonly known as MRSA. The standard infection ratio in 2021 was seven percent higher than in 2015, a figure the CDC considers significant. 

Every hospital in Illinois and throughout the United States is required to follow infection control guidelines designed to prevent the spread of staph and other infections. The fact that staph infections continue to threaten significant numbers of patients demonstrates that widespread non-compliance abounds. 

If you have suffered substantial harm after contracting a staph infection in a hospital, a Chicago medical malpractice attorney at Levin & Perconti may be able to help you recover substantial compensation.

What is a staph infection?

Staph infection is the common name for staphylococcus aureus, a type of bacteria that is often found on human skin. If staph makes its way inside the human body, it can cause serious infection leading to sepsis and death. Once it enters the human body, it can infect skin wounds, joints, bones, internal organs, and the blood. 

Staph infections are classified as follows: 

  • Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) 
  • Methicillin-susceptible staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) 

The primary difference between these types is resistance to antibiotics. Staph infections typically do not respond to penicillin, so they are treated with stronger antibiotics, such as methicillin. However, staph bacteria are adaptable, and some have evolved to form varieties that are resistant to methicillin and other antibiotics. 

Both strains of staph infections have the potential to be deadly if untreated. However, MRSA is more dangerous because it often does not respond to any antibiotics. According to the Mayo Clinic, the current course of treatment is a strong intravenous antibiotic, Vancomycin, but it may not always respond to this.

How does staph infection spread in hospitals?

Staphylococcus aureus enters hospitals through people who are infected or on the skin of people who are colonized with it, known as carriers. Carriers generally do not experience ill effects unless their skin is broken and it enters the bloodstream. However, they can pass staph infections to others. 

Patients contract staph infections when one of the following occurs: 

  • A health care provider who is a carrier touches a patient. 
  • A provider touches a contaminated surface or infected patient, then touches another patient without properly washing their hands.  
  • A patient comes into contact with a contaminated product, such as a medical device, sheet, blanket, furniture, implant, or catheter.  

If the patient has an open wound, the staph infection can enter the body. Staph infection commonly enters the human body during the following: 

  • Surgical procedures 
  • Dialysis 
  • Catheterizations 
  • Implantations of devices 
  • Wound care 

The infection may start in that part of the body but can spread throughout the body if it reaches the bloodstream. 

Can staph infections be prevented?

Transmissions of bacteria like staph should be rare occurrences in hospitals because appropriate infection control procedures should prevent their spread. The fact that it does transmit to patients shows that the following negligent conduct by staff occurs: 

  • Failure to wash hands between patients or inadequate handwashing 
  • Inadequate cleaning of the patient’s room and furnishings 
  • Inadequate infection control training 
  • Failure to wear appropriate sterile gloves and gowns 
  • Failure to change personal protective equipment between patients 
  • Failure to use proper sterilization techniques for surgical supplies, catheters, and implants 

Who is at risk of developing a staph infection in the hospital?

According to MedlinePlus, the following factors increase a patient’s risk of developing a staph infection: 

  • Extended hospital stay 
  • Compromised immune system 
  • Chronic illness 
  • Open cuts and sores 
  • The presence of medical devices, such as knee or hip implants 
  • Contact with a carrier or infected person 
  • Reliance on kidney dialysis 

Staph Infection Can Lead to Significant Injuries

A staph infection may manifest as wrinkling, peeling, or redness of the skin, and boils or blisters may appear. If it becomes invasive, it can be life-threatening, according to Penn Medicine. The following complications may develop: 

  • Septic arthritis – Infection of the joints 
  • Sepsis – An infection of the bloodstream resulting in symptoms such as rapid breathing, tachycardia, and high fever 
  • Infection in the bones, leading to high fever and pain 
  • Gastrointestinal infection if caused by contaminated food 
  • Pneumonia 
  • Surgical wound infections 

Can I sue a hospital for a staph infection?

You may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the hospital and the negligent doctors, nurses, and other health care providers who caused or contributed to your infection during a hospital stay. You must be able to prove the following: 

  • You contracted a staph infection as a result of negligence by hospital staff. 
  • The staph infection caused substantial physical and financial harm. 
  • You did not have a staph infection prior to the incident. 
  • Negligence by hospital personnel is the proximate cause of your infection. 

How much is a hospital staph infection lawsuit worth?

The damages you can recover will depend on the severity of your infection, including the consequent pain and suffering, the long-term effects, and the financial impact. Recoverable damages after developing a hospital staph infection may include the following: 

  • Medical bills 
  • Lost wages 
  • Lost future wages 
  • Projected ongoing medical costs 
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Loss of society 
  • Loss of bodily functions 

Illinois personal injury law does not limit the economic or non-economic damages you may recover. However, punitive damages are not available in medical malpractice cases. 

How can a medical malpractice attorney help my staph infection case?

Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit requires special knowledge of personal injury law and the medical field. This type of case requires the assistance of a law firm with a significant network, proven experience, and vast resources. A medical malpractice lawyer must be able to do the following: 

  • Retrieve your medical records 
  • Understand medical terminology and procedures 
  • Investigate your medical history 
  • Retain medical experts, financial planners, and investigators 
  • Interview witnesses 
  • Methodically gather evidence and build a strong case 
  • Timely file your lawsuit 
  • Negotiate a settlement with the hospital’s insurance company 
  • Be prepared to go to court, if necessary 

Hiring experts and building a strong case requires a significant financial investment as well as a willingness to commit time, hard work, and skill to the process. Levin & Perconti has the experience, skills, and resources to confidently provide all of these services with no upfront cost to you.  

How much time do I have to file a hospital staph infection claim?

The Illinois medical malpractice statute of limitations requires medical malpractice victims to file a claim within two years of the date of injury or the date the injury is discovered.  

It is important to contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible because the time limit can vary based on the specific facts of your case. The sooner you retain an attorney, the more time they will have to prepare a strong case.  

Why should I hire the experienced attorneys at Levin & Perconti?

Our nationally recognized medical malpractice attorneys have more than 200 years of combined experience winning remarkable settlements and verdicts on behalf of our deserving clients, including the following:   

  • $862,500 settlement for a nursing home resident who contracted MRSA as a result of staff negligence, resulting in multiple surgeries and an amputation 
  • $2.25 million settlement in a case involving a five-year-old boy who survived a bone marrow transplant to treat myelocytic leukemia and resulting graft versus host disease, only to die from complications stemming from an undiagnosed infection 
  • $900,000 settlement for the wrongful death of a 37-year-old client who died of an infection following a hysterectomy, in which the patient lost her airway and required a tracheotomy to breathe 

We know what it takes to win sufficient compensation that truly makes a difference for our clients, and we refuse to give up until we achieve it. We regularly receive positive feedback from our clients such as the following:

“Levin & Perconti is the best to work with. From our first meeting, they explained everything to us in terms we could easily understand and were always very responsive when we had questions. In the end we had great results and can't thank them enough for helping us during one of the hardest times of our lives.”

File a Hospital Staph Infection Lawsuit Today

If you have experienced complications after developing an infection in a hospital, you may be entitled to rightful compensated for your injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.