A recent Illinois Appellate Court decision significantly advances the rights of medical malpractice victims harmed by hospital-acquired infections. Medical malpractice lawyers at Pintas and Mullins Law Firm are encouraged by the court’s ruling on behalf of our client, which makes it easier for injured patients and their loved ones to take legal action against negligent health providers. Chicago area hospitals can no longer hide under a shield of liability when innocent patients are harmed by MRSA(methicillin-resistant staphylococcus). This decision entitles malpractice victims to valuable hospital infection data that reveals whether the hospital violated the legal standard of care. We strongly believe that allowing patients access to this critical data will improve the quality of care and ultimately save billions of healthcare dollars.
MRSA is a deadly infection that spreads though contact with doctors, nurses, and other health care workers who fail to take proper sanitary procedures. Hospital patients have weakened immune systems and are at great risk for infection when medical professional do not wash their hands or use contaminated equipment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 2 million hospital infections are acquired each year, leading to chronic health conditions and permanent personal injuries. Sadly, many victims of MRSA are forced to amputate their limbs in order to prevent the spread of infection. Simple safety steps can be taken to prevent hospital-acquired infections, such as washing hands or sanitizing patient rooms before surgery. Unfortunately, Illinois hospitals and hospitals around the nation are not doing enough to prevent the deadly spread of MRSA.
Dziamara v. Advocate Christ Medical Center highlights the deadly consequences of inadequate medical care. Our experienced personal injury attorneys fought vigorously in this case to allow our client and other MRSA victims access to hospital records that support their malpractice claims. The family of Zigmund Dziamara came to Pintas & Mullins to investigate and prosecute a medical malpractice case against the hospital for the serious injury that Mr. Dziamara suffered. Dziamara and another patient, Joseph Zangara, contracted MRSA during their hospital stay at Advocate Christ Medical Center in 2005. Tragically,, Dziamara died and Zangara suffered permanent injury.
The victim’s families allege that the hospital was negligent in managing MRSA infections and maintaining effective infection control procedures. To prove this, they requested the hospital’s infection-control statistics, copies of MRSA policy manuals, and a list of previous patients who contracted MRSA. The hospital refused to provide the MRSA information of other patients, saying that it was privileged under the Medical Studies Act. The trial court agreed and barred access to the MRSA information. Fortunately, the Illinois Appellate Court overturned the trial court’s erroneous ruling. The court held that the plaintiffs were entitled to the MRSA-related hospital records, a decision that will positively impact all Illinois MRSA victims who need this type of information to support their malpractice claims. If hospitals cannot hide behind the cloak of privilege, they will be encouraged to actively prevent deadly MRSA outbreaks. When they fail to do so, juries will have the information they need to evaluate the hospital’s negligence.
Our experienced Illinois personal injury attorneys understand that hospitals need to be held accountable for wrongdoing that causes permanent injuries and death. MRSA is a significant concern for Illinois health care providers and hospitals around the country. Patients whose lives are devastatingly transformed by this serious illness need access to MRSA information to support their malpractice lawsuits. Medical malpractice litigation is an effective way to improve patient care and curb preventable, potentially deadly hospital infections.