When you have surgery, you know that there will be an open wound. Even after stitches are in place, there is a potential for the wound to reopen or to get infected. Fortunately, most people don't have to worry about serious infections, because they avoid the bacteria that would cause them.
There is a problem, though, in some cases. Whether it's using surgical equipment that wasn't sterilized properly or touching a wound with dirty hands, patients could be exposed to dangerous bacteria and face life-threatening infections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that around 1 to 3 percent of all surgeries result in infections. These infections may be well-controlled with antibiotics if they're caught early, but certain infections are resistant to antibiotics. These pose the highest risk to patients, since they could lead to major complications, the need for additional surgeries or even death in extreme cases.
How can you prevent infection?
It may not be in your power to prevent the infection or exposure to the bacteria, but you can help by reporting it as soon as you notice that something is wrong. Keep an eye on your temperature and pain levels following surgery. Extreme pain or a fever could mean an infection is growing in your body.
If you do end up needing additional treatment because of a bacteria-resistant infection or other hospital-acquired infection, you may be able to obtain compensation for your pain and suffering as well as to cover your medical expenses. Errors leading to infection have to be corrected, and they should be corrected at no cost to you.
Source: FindLaw, "Surgical Site Infection Lawsuit FAQ," Ephrat Livni Esq., accessed Dec. 22, 2017