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Common causes of surgical site infections

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2022 | Medical Malpractice |

Your expectations are probably high when you go to the hospital for a scheduled surgery or emergency procedure. 

Medical staff are expected to uphold a high level of care to ensure mistakes and injuries don’t occur. Unfortunately, these things still happen. Surgical site infections (SSIs) are common healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). 

In some situations, HCAIs are unavoidable; however, in other cases, they are caused by negligence by surgeons, nurses or other medical staff. Common types of SSIs are listed here. 

Endogenous infections

Most SSIs result from endogenous infections. This occurs if the incision site is affected by bacteria caused by an opened internal organ or the patient’s skin. 

Exogenous infection

These occur from external bacteria that contaminate the surgical site while the procedure is happening. Common sources of these infections include:

  • The operating room or environment
  • Air
  • Surgical instruments

Other causes of SSIs

In some situations, SSIs result from an infection in the body. These are common with prosthetic surgeries where the presence of some type of foreign body will increase the potential of SSI. 

Risk factors for SSIs

Some situations will increase the likelihood that an SSI will occur. These include the following:

  • Operations on “diseased” or “dirty” organs
  • Surgeries that last over two hours
  • Someone who is older
  • Emergency surgery
  • Having other diseases or medical issues
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Having cancer, diabetes or a weak immune system
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight

Your rights if you develop an SSI

Developing an SSI can lead to serious injuries and long-term problems. If the SSI is caused by a medical worker’s negligence or wrongful act, it may be possible to recover damages by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Knowing your legal rights and options can help you determine if this is possible.