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Infectious Disease Expert Witness

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Infectious diseases are caused by viruses, bacteria, and/or parasites. They are also referred to as communicable diseases because they are highly contagious. Doctors in this field are trained to diagnose and treat these diseases.

One of AME's infectious disease expert witnesses has written an exclusive medical malpractice article that we have provided, for your interest, below.

Infectious Disease Medical Malpractice Cases

The way to handle infection cases is very interesting. If you can show the operation was not indicated, then any complication from that unnecessary operation is a negligent act. Secondly, was the patient at higher risk for the operation? Were prophylactic antibiotics not given prior to, during and after surgery? Was the patient not immediately and properly diagnosed and treated? In most large cities and/or teaching centers, there are specialists who do practically nothing else but consult and treat infections. Were there infections on or in the patient's body at the time of an elective operation? If so, the surgery should have been postponed.

Was the patient placed into a room before or after surgery where infected patients were located? This doesn't always mean there's a higher risk, but it's good jury appeal.

Did the hospital have infectious disease control procedures? All hospitals are required by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals to have such procedures. Did they investigate all other infections which were ongoing, to try to find the source of infection to minimize the risk? Was there a miniepidemic of infections at the time that patient was admitted to the hospital? If so, and if it's elective surgery, the patient should not have been operated on. If it was an urgent situation, he should have been put in another hospital. Did he come down with the same infection as the epidemic type? You can subpoena the infectious disease control records, which the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals requires the hospital keep. What was the source of the infection? The hospital won't give you the names of the patients, but will tell you what germ was present, where the other infected patients were located in the hospital, their diagnoses, and if it was the same as this patient's germ. Did the operating room nurse have an infected throat? Did the surgeon or his assistants have an infection?

Did his patients have a higher infection rate compared to other doctors at the hospital? Was the patient not advised of that? How were these infections investigated (if at all), what were the findings, and what was done to prevent your client's infection?

Infection cases are difficult, so it is imperative that you take a careful approach and notice all of the details. The primary goal should be finding out if the operation was unnecessary. You should also find out if the medical team failed at any of the following: getting proper informed consent, using conservative therapy, minimizing the risk of using prophylactic antibiotics, and investigating the causes of existing infections. Furthermore, doctors are responsible for recognizing infections immediately, getting germ cultures, using intensive antibiotics, opening the wound on time to get good drainage, and removing diseased flesh and implanted artificial materials. Failure to perform any of these essential tasks results in fatal infections. Taking all of the details above into account can help you understand, prove, and win complex infection cases.



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