Medical malpractice is not limited to just doctors and other medical professionals making mistakes. A common type of medical malpractice case is the failure to treat infections. This goes hand-in-hand with failing to diagnose infections. Failing to treat infections can lead to serious complications for a patient, including death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some 700,000 infections associated with health care occur in the United States each year. These infections were recorded in medical centers and hospitals. Not all of these infections are related to medical malpractice, but there are instances where some of them were a direct result.
The failure to diagnose an infection is the first step in the process. In the most serious cases of failing to diagnose an infection, the patient could develop sepsis. Sepsis occurs when the body's immune system has an overwhelming response to a lingering, or undiagnosed, infection.
When a patient suffers from sepsis, organs struggle to operate properly due to impaired flow of blood, leading to deprivation of oxygen and nutrients. The National Institute of General Medical Science reports that 28 to 50 percent of all people suffering from sepsis die.
Another aspect of this type of medical malpractice occurs when a doctor does not diagnose the infection in a timely manner. Even though the doctor was able to diagnose the infection, it might not have been done in enough time to properly treat the infection and save the patient.
Certain types of infections have set methods of treatment that doctors are supposed to follow for their patients. If a doctor strays from these methods and the patient develops sepsis or dies, then medical malpractice could have occurred. For medical malpractice to have occurred, the infection will have had to either caused an illness, injury or death or still be present well after it should have been healed.