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New York hospitals need new cleaning procedures

To a patient in Schenectady, going to the hospital for a surgical procedure may be frightening. With stories of surgeons operating on the wrong body parts or leaving sponges inside patients, it is no wonder that many people are afraid of medical malpractice. While it may be clear that a surgeon who performs a knee replacement on the left knee instead of the right may have committed medical malpractice, simple things like hospital errors or insufficient cleaning can also be considered medical malpractice.

When hospitals don't take the time to properly clean a room, they may be exposing patients to very serious infections, some of which are unable to be treated by conventional antibiotics. Unfortunately, there are a number of hospitals in New York that have serious problems with combating infection.

Take, for example, a New York City man who was at the hospital as a kidney patient. While he was there, his doctor believes he was exposed to Clostridium difficile, a potentially fatal disease. Each year, approximately 14,000 individuals will die from C-diff, although it is considered a much more easily treated infection than some of the other superbugs.

The problem is that many of the normal cleaning methods, such as alcohol-based hand sanitizers  or disinfectants do not work on the bacterium. Instead, rooms must be cleaned with bleach. Although the spokesperson for the hospital in which the man was staying says that there are a number of ways in which the hospital is trying to cut down on infection, the man refered to the hospital's cleaning as "perfunctory."

Just like with any kind of medical malpractice, if there is evidence that a hospital's errors caused an infection that injured a patient, the patient can work with a medical malpractice attorney to file a lawsuit seeking damages.

Source: USA Today, "Hospitals see surge of superbug-fighting products," April 29, 2013

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