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Surgical Site Infections

Surgery is a complex and scary thing to go through as a patient. While getting through an operation itself is a trying thing to do, few think about the potential for things to go wrong once they’ve left the surgical room. However, surgical site infections occur in about 1 to 3 percent of patients, according to Johns Hopkins. Surgical infections can occur as the result of a negligent surgical staff, and in such cases it is crucial to speak with an experienced, Boston-based medical malpractice attorney at Altman & Altman LLP today.

Surgical site infections (SSI) can occur in three different ways:

  • Superficial incisional SSI – These occur in the area of skin where a surgical incision was made
  • Deep incisional SSI – These occur beneath the incision in muscle or deeper tissues surrounding the muscles
  • Organ or space SSI – These occur in any area of the body besides the skin, muscle or surrounding tissues, including a body organ or the space in between body organs.

Symptoms that you may have an SSI include redness, a wound which will not heal, fever and pain, warmth, tenderness or swelling at the site. For superficial and deep incisional SSIs, pus may seep from the wound. Organ and space SSIs may cause pus to drain into another area of the body, causing an observable abscess composed of inflamed tissue.

What Causes a Surgical Site Infection?

Surgical site infections are caused by germs and bacteria getting into a surgical site following the surgery. This can happen in a variety of ways, such as somebody touching the wound, the use of surgical instruments which were not properly sanitized, being placed into an uncleaned or improperly disinfected hospital room for recovery from the surgery or even from surgical instruments such as surgical sponges being left in the site by mistake.

People more at risk for SSIs include those who have surgical operations which last more than two hours, those who suffer from diabetes or cancer, smokers, the elderly, those with an already weakened immune system (such as those diagnosed with HIV), or those who are overweight.

Proving Negligence for a Surgical Site Infection

As with any infection, a surgical site infection can be incredibly dangerous and potentially fatal if left untreated or undiagnosed. Surgical site infections are easily preventable by doctors and hospital staff by adhering to proper safety precautions regarding sterilization of instruments and cleaning the room of any potential germs and bacteria.

In the instance that an infection occurs, doctors should be able to readily identify a wound that looks like it might be infected, and should be able to quickly prescribe antibiotics or other treatment to take care of the infection quickly, before it continues to develop into something potentially deadly.

If you developed a surgical site infection through the negligent actions of a hospital, or a surgical site infection was not properly diagnosed and your infection worsened, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a medical malpractice suit.

The professional medical malpractice attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP have over 50 years of experience holding negligent hospitals and doctors accountable and fighting on behalf of our patients who are injured or negatively impacted through no fault of their own. Being based in Boston, Cambridge and the surrounding Massachusetts area, we are well versed in how to litigate against even the most prosperous medical facilities.

Contact our office for a free consultation to go over the details of your case and see which legal avenues are available to you. Call today at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199. We are available 24/7.

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