Delay in Diagnosing an Infection at a Nursing Home in Oregon

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Liability Explained for Delays in Diagnosing an Infection at a Nursing Home in Oregon


Most everyone will have an infection at some point in their lives, whether it is something minor such as a cold, or something more serious like meningitis. Some infections such as colds and viruses are generally treated with supportive care, such as other the counter cold medications or nasal sprays. Other infections are often easily treatable with antibiotics or other medications (depending on the type of infection), if an infection that requires treatment is not treated, it can develop into a more serious infection (i.e. sepsis) as well as it can lead to other serious complications. 


This is particularly true for nursing home patients who are already in a weakened state.  Indeed, nursing homes residents are very susceptible to infections and injuries from infections or sepsis.  This is because a nursing home resident could be recuperating from a surgery or fall, or a nursing home resident could need a heightened level of care due to conditions, diseases, or complications.  As a result, infections in a nursing home are very dangerous and can even be fatal.


What Are Infections and Why Are They Dangerous?


Infections occur when a foreign disease-causing organism enters a person’s body. Viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi are a few common examples of infection-causing organisms. Most of the time, an infection will start in a specific location (localized) such as skin, respiratory tract, etc. Over time, if not treated appropriately the infection will spread. If the systemic infection is left untreated, it can lead to serious complications, including sepsis, septic shock, organ damage, amputations, brain damage, or even death. 


How Do People Become Ill With Infections?


People can become ill with infections in a variety of different ways. A person may come in contact with another infected individual, or they may cut themselves and bacteria gets into the wound, causing infection. Sometimes, patients can acquire infections while hospitalized for an unrelated problem. This is know as a hospital acquired infection (HAI). These types of infections can be serious and sometimes difficult to treat as many hospital acquired infections are caused by organisms that are difficult to treat. While hospital acquired infections are unfortunately common, they can be prevented with proper precautions such as hand hygiene, use of sterile technique for sterile procedures, appropriate cleaning procedures, and following hospital protocol. 


Particularly in nursing homes, the failure to properly clean and sanitizer the facility could cause infections or lead to infections.  Other causes can include improper catheter care, trach care, breathing tube cleaning, and other sanitary cleaning.


How Can Delay in Diagnosing Infections Be Caused by Medical Malpractice? 


Infections may go undiagnosed for a variety of reasons. While there are some reasons that are not due to the fault of any healthcare provider (i.e the patient delays seeking treatment), there are many instances in which an infection goes undiagnosed due to a healthcare provider (i.e. physician) failing to diagnose and treat the infection. Examples of medical malpractice delay in diagnosis of infection include the following: 


  • Failing to properly assess a patient
  • Misdiagnosing the infection as something less serious (i.e. a common cold that can be treated with over the counter medications instead of pneumonia which requires antibiotics)
  • Failing to order appropriate testing to diagnose infections (i.e. blood work, x-rays, wound cultures, etc.)
  • Improper interpretation of test results
  • Prescribing the wrong medication for the type of infection the patient has, leading to more serious complications such as sepsis


These are just a few of the many ways in which an infection can go undetected due to a medical provider’s error. 


Infections in Nursing Homes Can Cause Wrongful Deaths: Ask Our Lawyers for Help


If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.


Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton,  Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles,  St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.


We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.

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