Issue: January 2012
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Hospital-Acquired Infections: Who Is Liable and Why?

Introduction

Prevalence of Hospital-Acquired Infection; The Difficulty of Determining Source

With over 250 deaths per day and the economic impact in billions, and because determining infection source is difficult, hospitals and physicians may be found liable for hospital-acquired or nosocomial infections.


The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy

Attorneys:

What proof is needed for a hospital to be found liable for a patient’s nosocomial infection?

Physicians:

How can liability for medical malpractice be avoided for a patient’s infection acquired while at the hospital?

Insurers:

Can a payout under a medical malpractice liability policy be avoided by proof that the health provider was not negligent, or proof there was no coverage for a nosocomial infection?

Employers:

Can a hospital be subject to liability for a nosocomial infection under the doctrine of respondeat superior?


Practice the Technique: Checklists

Attorneys:

A litigation checklist of facts and circumstances tending to prove negligence causing a hospital-acquired infection.

Physicians:

Physicians must consider this litigation checklist when defending the diagnosis and treatment of a patient with a hospital-acquired infection.

Insurers:

The insurer should use this litigation checklist to spot “red flags” and inconsistencies when investigating a claim of hospital-acquired infection.

Employers:

Use this litigation checklist to determine if the employee’s pneumonia is “work related” and occurred “in the course of the employment.”

Expert Analysis

Why Is the Theory of the Case Important?

Professor Marilyn J. Berger, JD

Why is it Important to Disclose Risk and Obtain Informed Consent?

Dr. Simon Chung, MD, MPH

What Issues Do Insurers and Employers Face in Hospital-Acquired Infection Litigation?

Steven Plitt, JD

What Issues Do Physicians Face in Hospital-Acquired Infection Litigation?

Dan J Tennenhouse, MD, JD, FCLM

Litigation

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration or mediation may be required by contract or statute, mandated by the court or, in some circumstances, may be the appropriate method for a negotiated resolution in a nosocomial infection case.


Reasons to Reach Settlement

Reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, or employer would want to reach settlement, and not take the nosocomial infection action to trial.


Reasons to Go to Trial

Reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, or employer would want to take the hospital-acquired infection action to trial.


Jury Awards and Settlements

How much have juries awarded recently in hospital-acquired pneumonia and nosocomial infection cases?



Medical Examples

Medical: Hospital-Acquired MRSA Infection

Detailed medical information on hospital-acquired MRSA infection occurrence, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, and the prognosis and ability to work.



Law and Medicine Resources

References

A listing of law and medical references for further information on hospital-acquired pneumonia and MRSA infections.


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Hospital-Acquired Infections: Who Is Liable and Why?

Table of Contents
Introduction

Expert Analysis
   Professor Marilyn J. Berger, JD
   Dr. Simon Chung, MD, MPH
   Steven Plitt, JD
   Dan J Tennenhouse, MD, JD, FCLM

The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy
   Attorneys
   Physicians and Health Providers
   Insurers
   Employers and Risk Managers

Practice the Technique: Checklists
   Attorney Checklist
   Physician Checklist
   Insurer Checklist
   Employer and Risk Manager Checklist

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Reasons to Reach Settlement

Reasons to Go to Trial

Jury Awards and Settlements

Medical: Hospital-Acquired MRSA Infection

References