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Friday, August 15, 2008

Hospital-Acquired Infections - The Next Wave of Litigation

The old saying, “Sick people don’t belong in hospitals,” was given new meaning by a recent jury verdict for over $2.5 Million against a heart surgeon and his practice group and a hospital in St. Louis Missouri. The patient was admitted for the installation of a pacemaker and a resulting hospital acquired infection resulted in the loss of his right leg a portion of his left foot, a kidney and his a majority of his hearing.

The award was entered after the patient contracted a hospital-acquired infection. The patient had developed a drug-resistant staph infection called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

Medicare has taken the position recently that it will no longer reimburse hospital for the conditions, citing them as “never” events. Many infections in hospitals are preventable through proper sanitation and serialization procedure. The verdict serves as a wake-up call to hospitals and their staff’s that they will suffer economic consequences if they fail to maintain a safe working environment.

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