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Zinka, Bettina; Peschel, O. and Schulte-Sasse, U. (2016): Nosokomiale Infektionen. Probleme der Geltendmachung zivil- oder strafrechtlicher Ansprüche. In: Rechtsmedizin, Vol. 26, No. 1: pp. 61-65

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Nosocomial infections (NI) are one of the most frequent complications during inpatient stays in hospitals. They cause an increase in morbidity and mortality, although they could be largely prevented by observing a few basic hygiene rules. However, the practice of implementing lower hygiene standards results in financial, staff and process-related benefits for the clinical institution. Organizational structures that increase the prevalence of NI are deliberately planned by the hospitals with the aim of economic efficiency. Patients have the right to gain insight into their own records for treatment documentation but not into the hygiene protocols of a clinic. In the case of a damages claim due to NI, the burden of proof initially lies with the complainant who does not, however, have the possibility of obtaining information on the hygiene situation of a hospital as a whole. Within the scope of forensic expertise in cases of suspected NI-related death in hospitals, initial indications of insufficient diagnostic and surveillance measures in a clinic can, when appropriate, be obtained from the treatment documentation records, which then permits further investigations to be initiated by the public prosecution service. This gives the patient or relatives the possibility to assert claims under civil and criminal law.

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