Any surgical procedure carries the risk of causing the patient to suffer an infection at and around the surgery site. It is important for the doctor who prescribes the surgery to warn the patient about all potential complications, including an infection.
What some doctors might fail to disclose is that an infection is not something that always happens right away after surgery. There are some situations in which a surgical site infection (SSI) can develop weeks or months after the patient has been sent home from the hospital. Depending on what causes the infection and what body parts are affected, it is possible for an infection to start to form after a procedure.
Different Types of Infections & Treatments
The severity of a surgical site infection will depend partly on its location. Some infections can be painless and only need antibiotics to alleviate. Others can be dangerous, causing sepsis and death. Others may require additional surgery to correct. When a patient needs subsequent hospitalization or suffers a debilitation due to their infection, it may be the result of medical malpractice.
A few different types of surgical site infections are:
- Skin: Most skin infections are not dangerous and can be identified by redness or swelling around the surgical site. Some can cause pain when moving the affected body part. A doctor may need to reopen the incision to drain pus and blood to prevent the infection from worsening.
- Muscle: When an infection goes deeper than the skin, it can spread to the muscles and tendons around the incision. While skin infections can be difficult to avoid and are often caused by inadequate in-home aftercare, muscle infections generally indicate a surgeon’s failure to properly disinfect surgical tools and the infection site. A second incision to drain the wound is might be necessary to treat it.
- Organ: During some surgical procedures, the surgeon must move an organ out of the way to complete the procedure. Careless manipulation of an organ can cause it to become infected with bacteria. Organ infections are often dangerous and may take weeks to become noticeable.
- Bone: An infection that begins in or on bone tissue can be highly dangerous, yet it might take the longest to start showing outward signs. Sometimes a bone can be nicked during surgery and only cause minimal discomfort to the patient afterward. Yet weeks or months later, the bone infection can worsen to the point that it causes pain and debilitation.
Patients should be encouraged to visit an urgent care facility if their surgical site becomes painful. The same is true if a patient has a fever of 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit that lasts for more than a day or incision discharge that is murky, bloody, or offensively odorous.
Surgical Site Infection Claims
Did a doctor’s mistakes cause you to suffer a surgical site infection? Proving the connection between a surgeon’s errors and that infection can be difficult and often requires an in-depth understanding of medical records and procedures.
Injured patients in Orlando, Florida can count on Attorney Todd Miner and our team at Todd Miner Law for legal representation and guidance. We focus on cases of severe infections that caused extended pain and suffering, life-threatening symptoms, or a patient’s death. Call (407) 269-5877 to see if we can work on your claim, too.