Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, is a kind of bacteria that can cause life-threatening inflammation in the colon. According to the Mayo Clinic, many people already have C. diff in their intestinal tract, but they do not experience any ill effects because the other kinds of bacteria in the digestive system keep it in check.
When you take antibiotics, though, they can kill so much of the "good" bacteria that C. diff quickly multiplies out of control, causing an infection. Antibiotics that commonly cause C. diff infections include penicillin, clindamycin, and fluoroquinolones.
Individuals who do not already have C. diff in their system can contract an infection through contact with its spores. These spores spread quickly through healthcare facilities and nursing homes because they are present in feces, which staff may come in contact with before moving on to another patient.
Although you can develop a C. diff infection even if hospital staff take all reasonable precautions, many patients develop one following substandard care. If you or your loved one contracted a life-threatening infection as a result of a healthcare provider's negligence, The Bowling Law Firm can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Call 877-757-3539 to schedule a consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer in Baton Rouge.
When Is a Hospital Liable for a C. Diff Infection?
There are various scenarios in which a hospital may be liable for a patient's C. diff infection or for any complications that arise. If your healthcare provider is not liable for the infection itself, he or she may be responsible for failing to recognize the severity of the situation or for taking action that worsens the symptoms to the point that they become life threatening.
For example, if your doctor fails to diagnose the C. diff infection and instead prescribes an antiperistaltic like Imodium or Lomotil to treat the diarrhea, it can lead to colonic distension, which may require a colectomy and can result in death. When a delayed or missed diagnosis leads to life-threatening complications, the patient can generally hold the hospital or provider liable for the damages.
What Are the Symptoms of C. Diff?
According to WebMD, watery diarrhea is one of the most common symptoms of a Clostridium difficile infection. Other symptoms include severe cramping, nausea, fever, loss of appetite, dehydration, and rapid heart rate.
Many patients experience mild diarrhea when they start taking a new antibiotic. If you have diarrhea more than twice a day for at least two consecutive days, though, visit your doctor immediately. If C. diff is responsible for your symptoms but you do not seek treatment, you could become severely dehydrated, which has life-threatening complications of its own.
If you or a member of your family was a victim of medical malpractice, contact The Bowling Law Firm to discuss your case. Call 877-757-3539 to schedule a consultation with a wrongful death attorney in Baton Rouge. To learn more about medical malpractice claims in Louisiana, visit the USAttorneys website.