Hospital-acquired infections - when are hospitals legally liable?S Afr Med J 2012; 102(6 Pt 2):353-4SA
Hospital-acquired infections (nosocomial infections) are acquired in healthcare settings by patients admitted for reasons unrelated to the infection or not previously infected when admitted to the facility. Liability for hospital-acquired infections depends on whether the hospital: (i) has introduced best practice infection control measures; (ii) has implemented best practice infection control measures; or (iii) will be vicariously liable for negligent or intentional failures by staff to comply with the infection control measures implemented. A hospital and hospital administrators may be held directly liable for not introducing or implementing best practice infection control measures, resulting in harm to patients. The hospital may also be held vicariously liable where patients have been harmed because hospital staff negligently or intentionally failed to comply with the infection control measures that have been implemented by the hospital, during the course and scope of their employment.