Hospital Infections Can Result in Maine Medical Malpractice Claims

Central Maine Medical Center’s safety grade has dropped to one of the lowest in the state, in part because of problems with blood-stream infections. The hospital’s grade dropped from a B to a C — making it one of just two Maine hospital to receive a C grade, according to a recent report in the Press-Herald.

The report by a Washington, D.C. nonprofit reviewed cases of infections from 2016 and 2017 and cases involving bedsores and deaths from treatable complications in 2014 and 2015. It is the third time in recent months the hospital has come under attack as it struggles with bloodstream infections from central lines and catheters inserted into Intensive Care Unit patients. Late last year, Medicare announced it was penalizing CMMC for a second year in a row as a result of high rates of patient injuries and infections.

Hospital Infections a Hidden Risk & Growing Concern

Experienced medical malpractice attorneys are seeing a growing number of these cases as hospitals nationwide continue to struggle with hospital-acquired infections and so-called superbugs.

In recent years, the federal government has recognized the growing risk of health care-associated infections (HAI) and is working to better monitor and reduce the risks. Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about one in 25 hospital patients acquire at least one health care-associated infection. Annually, the CDC estimates 1.7 million patients will acquire a hospital infection, and nearly 100,000 will die — nearly three times the number of deaths that occur annually on the nation’s roads.

Common bacteria or viruses causing health care-associated infections include methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Norovirus, Staphylococcus aureus, and Clostridium difficile (c-diff). Such infections are less likely to respond to standard antibiotics and can prove deadly. In all cases, they substantially increase the hospital stay and cost of treating the infection, for which the hospital bills the patient.

The same report reduced the grade of Maine General Medical Center in Augusta from an A to a B. Mercy Hospital in Portland earned an A, while Maine Medical Center in Portland earned a B. Southern Maine Health Care Medical Center improved its grade from a B to an A.

Maine Medical Malpractice Claims

The statute of limitations (Maine Revised Statutes Title 24, Section 2902) for medical malpractice claims in Maine is three years — except for minors, who have six years or three years after reaching adulthood. Medical malpractice claims are generally more complex than other types of personal injury lawsuits and are best handled by Maine law firms with significant experience in litigating these types of claims. Just because a patient acquires a hospital infection does not mean he or she has a case for malpractice. Maine is among the states that utilize a pre-litigation screening panel, which means an injured party’s attorney will be required to present sufficient proof to an independent panel before a case can proceed to trial.

Cases of medical malpractice that result in a wrongful death are also subject to a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages. However, economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, are not subject to the cap.

If you are dealing with a possible case of medical malpractice, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Lewiston hospital’s safety grade slides to a C, April 24, 2018, Press-Herald

More Blog Entries:

$1.785M Awarded in Maine Medical Malpractice Lawsuit, Feb. 10, 2016, Peter Thompson & Associates

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