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dearrainy

Can I force hospital to pay if I became sick because of their negligence?

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I was in a hospital for the last 4 days and the conditions were unsanitary. A little background to begin with - I have had multiple intestinal infections with a superbug called c. diff - bad bacteria takes over your good bacteria in your intestines and you basically want to die as you have to go to the bathroom up to 20 times a day. It can be deadly. 

 

My first night in the hospital, when I was shown to my room, I found a bag filled with feces-covered towels in my bathroom. My toilet and floor was also caked in urine. I removed the bag to the hallway because I couldn't be in the same room as it. It took them almost 24 hours to remove it. I have been having intestinal problems ever since. I am deathly afraid that I have been reinfected with this superbug again. This (to my mind, at least) would be negligence on the part of the hospital. It has been reported to the supervisor of the unit and to the PA health department. What I would like to know is, if this does turn out to be a reinfection due to that contact, is there a way to make this hospital pay any medical bills related to my treatment without taking them to court? I am on medicare and SSDI and don't have any money for a lawyer or things like that.

 

Thank you in advance for your advice.

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First of all, have you even been diagnosed with c. diff again, assuming you were clear of it previously. Second, it boggles the mind that you would handle the soiled linens as opposed to contacting housekeeping or your care team or hospital administration.

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56 minutes ago, ElleMD said:

First of all, have you even been diagnosed with c. diff again, assuming you were clear of it previously. Second, it boggles the mind that you would handle the soiled linens as opposed to contacting housekeeping or your care team or hospital administration.

 

I have been clear for 3 years. Second, I have not been diagnosed yet... it takes time to fester and build up, but I am concerned due to digestive troubles I have been having that started almost immediately after being there (as stated above). To be clear (again, I thought I was before) I did not handle the soiled linens. I touched the outside of the bag that they were in, as there was no housekeeping at 11pm, when I was put in the room. And the housekeeper, who came the next day, still failed to remove the bag, even though it was sitting directly in front of her cart. There was also an issue of medical waste with another patient's blood sitting on the floor in front of my room that I brought to a staff member's attention. It was not cleaned up for hours. Aside from that, I had to report this hospital to the PA Department of Health for so many violations it would make your head spin. They assured me there would be a thorough investigation. (Unprofessional, untrained physicians, abusive staff, untrained staff, staff giving out medication improperly, etc etc etc.) Repeated requests for things as basic as food went on deaf ears. So something complicated like disinfecting a room when they can't even dispose of basic medical waste? I may as well have been beating my head against a wall.

 

This bacteria will stay on anything it comes in contact with, even if it is cleaned. The only thing that kills it is bleach. So if those towels touched anything else in that bathroom, it could have been infected. If the person using those towels got any feces on their hands and then washed them, the whole sink would be infected. If they touched the toilet handle, infected. Most people carry a small amount of the c. diff virus in their system and it does not harm them at all, but to someone like me, with multiple infections, it would be very dangerous. This is my concern. And the cost of treating it can be staggering. A single round of vancomycin (without insurance) costs upwards of $2,000. That is for 2 weeks of treatment. The last time I dealt with this, I had it for 6 months. Every recurrence is worse.

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Contacting JCAHO is much more effective than the health department, which has little influence over most of the issues you cite. You are light years away from having any kind of case, let alone a slam dunk kind of case. The fact that you chose to handle the soiled linen bag and such yourself could very well work against any claim you might have as you knew the risk associated with soiled linens, and chose to handle them yourself.

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3 minutes ago, ElleMD said:

Contacting JCAHO is much more effective than the health department, which has little influence over most of the issues you cite. You are light years away from having any kind of case, let alone a slam dunk kind of case. The fact that you chose to handle the soiled linen bag and such yourself could very well work against any claim you might have as you knew the risk associated with soiled linens, and chose to handle them yourself.

 

Thank you for that info... More than anything else, I don't want any other patients to go through what I went through at this hospital. I will look into them.

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