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What if I got an infection after a California outpatient surgery?

It is becoming more and more common these days for a California patient to receive treatment in an outpatient setting. This category of care, which is also known as ambulatory care, means that a patient does not stay overnight.

Outpatient care may occur in a clinic, surgical center or even in a physician's office, and it can include a wide range of medical treatments. Just because a particular course of treatment does not require an overnight stay, however, does not mean that the treatment is without risks. Surgical errors could still occur in outpatient treatment, and sometimes, these surgical errors may lead to serious infections.

Doctors and nurses are supposed to follow proper procedures to avoid creating the possibility of infection in patients. Nevertheless, a surgeon's mistake, including improper or ineffective hand washing or failure to wear proper protective clothing may lead to a patient developing an infection.

Furthermore, improper use of medical equipment can lead to infection if a physician does not follow specific recommended guidelines regarding how to handle the equipment. For example, medical equipment that is reusable must be properly cleaned and either disinfected or sterilized prior to being used again on another patient. Some medical equipment is considered single use and must not be reused on another patient.

Failure to follow proper procedures to keep outpatient care settings safe for patients may lead to serious injury. If a patient has contracted an infection following treatment in an outpatient setting, it is essential that he or she seek prompt medical attention. Subsequently, once a patient has his or her infection under control, he or she may wish to seek legal counsel, as he or she may have a cause of action due to potentially negligent treatment in an outpatient setting.

Source: CDC, "Guide to Infection Prevention in Outpatient Settings: Minimum Expectations for Safe Care," accessed July 31, 2015

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