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C. Diff Infection Following Surgical Procedure & Hospitalization — When Is It Medical Malpractice?

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There are risks to every surgery and medical procedure. There are also risks to patients who are hospitalized. One such well-known risk is that of infection of a bacterium called Clostridioides difficile, also known as C. diff, which can be extremely serious. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 11 patients over 65 die within a month after acquiring a C. diff infection in a healthcare setting. 

Here's what you need to know if you or a loved one has C. diff while hospitalized following a surgical procedure.

The Severity of C. Diff Increases When It's Not Treated Soon Enough 

C. diff causes the inflammation of the colon and severe diarrhea, which can cause severe dehydration. C. diff also poses the risk of recurrent C. diff infections as well as the development of toxic megacolon. C. diff becomes severe when it's not recognized soon enough for treatment to begin and be effective. The negligence of not recognizing the infection soon enough can lead to a medical malpractice settlement. 

The Known Risks of C. Diff Means Adequate Testing Is Necessary

There are full disclosures of the risks that are involved in various surgical procedures, treatments, and hospitalization in the paperwork that you signed as a patient. However, signing the paperwork that declares that you've been informed of the risks of C. diff. doesn't mean you signed away your ability to file a medical malpractice lawsuit if your medical team waited too long to order a test to see if you have C.diff. You do, however, want to obtain a copy of the paperwork you signed to give to your medical malpractice attorney. 

Anyone is at risk of getting infected with C. diff. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, people who are at the highest risk of C. diff infections are those who undergo surgical procedures involving the gastrointestinal system, such as a small-bowel resection, colectomy, and gastric resection. People having these types of surgical procedures should be tested regularly for C. diff while hospitalized and after being discharged if they experience diarrhea and/or bloody stools. 

Medical Malpractice Attorney Will File a Motion for Discovery

One of the first steps a medical malpractice attorney will take to determine the feasibility of a claim is to file a motion for discovery to see if and when tests were done to determine if the patient had C. diff based on the type of surgery they had as well as the symptoms they experienced leading up to when the tests were ordered.