Two doctors performing a surgery on a client

Patients should be able to trust their medical staff, including their doctors, nurses, and surgeons. Every surgery carries the risk of post-surgical infections and other complications. Surgeons must take special care to identify and promptly treat any signs of infections after surgery. When surgeons fail to treat post-surgical infections effectively, the infection can cause sepsis or even death. 

If you or your loved one have suffered injuries caused by a post-surgical infection, you may have a right to compensation. Under New York law, victims of medical malpractice can pursue damages for their past and future medical expenses, lost income, pain, and suffering. Contact our Long Island medical malpractice attorneys to schedule a complimentary case evaluation and learn whether you have a valid medical malpractice claim. 

Complications Arising from Post-Surgical Infections

When trusted medical providers fail to meet a high standard of care, such as failing to sterilize equipment, patients can suffer the consequences. Infections can threaten limbs and vital organs, increase the length of hospital stays, cause tissue necrosis and other medical complications, and even lead to death. Infections should be identified and treated quickly to give the patient the greatest likelihood of favorable outcomes. Common types of postoperative infections that are caused by medical negligence include the following:

  • Necrotizing fasciitis
  • Bloodstream infections
  • Staphylococcus (staph) infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Surgical site infections
  • MRSA
  • Respiratory infections
  • Viral infections
  • Post-op bleeding
  • Peritonitis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • C. difficile

All of these infections and medical conditions can cause lasting complications. For example, surgical wound infection complications can cause pain that doesn’t get better with medication, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and worsening symptoms. Severe infections can result in limited mobility and disability. 

The Signs of a Postoperative Infection

When an infection begins, a patient’s body exhibits signs of infection. Surgeons, doctors, and nurses have received training to recognize these signs quickly. They should take appropriate actions to prevent the spread of infection and worsen the patient’s condition. When doctors ignore or minimize the following signs of post-surgical infections, the infection can quickly worsen:

  • Increased respiration
  • Increased heart rate
  • Chills or seizures
  • Increased temperature
  • Pus draining from the surgical site
  • Abnormal white blood cell counts
  • Swelling around the surgical site
  • Redness or warmth around the surgical site
  • Pain in an extremity, the abdomen, or around the surgical site
  • Increase in wound drainage
  • Increased fatigue

What Is Postoperative Sepsis?

Postoperative sepsis is a rare but serious complication of an infection. Sepsis is an inflammatory response to an infection that can cause severe damage to a patient’s tissue and organs. When sepsis isn’t recognized and treated, it can become life-threatening. Patients who undergo emergency surgery have an increased risk of contracting sepsis. When a patient undergoes a major operation, hospitals should require extra monitoring and access via tubes. Every tube should be inserted using a sterile technique to prevent sepsis. 

When patients undergo surgeries involving their bowels, negligence can result in a hole in the bowl. Friendly bacteria can spill into the patient’s abdominal cavity. Surgeons should carefully wash the area with sterile fluids to limit the potential for severe infections that could result in sepsis. Surgeons should also use extra caution when a patient has a condition that impairs his or her immune system, putting them at a greater risk for sepsis. 

Patients with sepsis can quickly become very ill, and sepsis is only effectively treated quickly when it is identified and treated with intravenous antibiotics, fluids, and oxygen. If your loved one died from sepsis-related complications because of medical staff’s negligence, it’s important you reach out to an attorney. You may have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to pursue compensation for your loved one’s medical expenses, loss of income, and the pain and suffering you’ve endured. 

Medical Negligence Can Cause or Worsen Postoperative Infections

A patient could contract a dangerous, life-threatening postoperative infection in several ways. Post-surgery, doctors and nurses are responsible for monitoring the patient’s surgical site and watching for signs of infection, discoloration, increased drainage, elevated temperature, and other signs of infection. Failure to closely monitor patients after surgery is one of the main causes of postoperative infections worsening needlessly. Other causes of postoperative infections include the following:

  • Unclean or non-sterile bandages
  • Unsterilized surgical tools
  • Unsterile operating room conditions
  • Failure to change wound dressing frequently enough
  • Leaving a foreign body inside of the patient
  • Failure to diagnose and treat infections quickly
  • Prescription of the wrong medication after surgery
  • Failure to isolate patients who acquire an infection to limit the spread
  • Failure to wash hands before checking the patient’s post-op site
  • Leaving a catheter or IV line inserted longer than necessary

Compensation Available in Post-Surgical Lawsuits

The nature and extent of the compensation you may be able to obtain in a post-surgical medical malpractice case depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding your infection. You may be entitled to compensation for your existing losses and those you reasonably can be expected to face in the future. 

Many post-surgical infections are serious and may require ongoing medical care and treatment for an indefinite period. Additionally, many victims suffer significant pain or cannot engage in work and other day-to-day activities. These instances represent examples of loss you can reasonably be expected to face in the future. The attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC have the knowledge and resources to carefully estimate your current and future damages so we can pursue the most significant compensation possible. 

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Long Island Medical Malpractice Attorney

Surgeons have a legal duty to provide competent medical treatment before, during, and after the surgery. When surgeons or other hospital staff fail to identify and adequately treat post-surgical infections, patients can suffer life-altering injuries. You aren’t alone if you have suffered an injury from a post-surgical infection that worsened due to medical malpractice. The attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC are prepared to protect your rights and provide you with effective legal counsel. You only have a limited amount of time to pursue a claim for compensation. Contact Dell & Dean, PLLC to schedule a free case evaluation.

Dell & Dean, PLLC handles post-surgical infection claims throughout Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island as well as the boroughs of New York City, and the surrounding areas.