A Maryland law firm said it will file several lawsuits to force the state's hospitals and nursing homes to disclose cases of hospital-acquired infections. The Suder Law Firm, Baltimore, said it represents people who have acquired nosocomial infections and some nurses who claim hospitals rebuffed their suggestions for new safety measures. Lead attorney Joanne Suder said she would file the lawsuits in Maryland circuit courts and Washington Superior Court. In an Aug. 15 letter to the law firm, the Association of Maryland Hospitals and Health Systems objected to disclosing infection rates, saying "there are no universally accepted measures to distinguish hospital-acquired infections from other types of infections." The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been working many years to develop such measures, the hospital association said. Responding, the law firm asserted criteria do exist. Suder said she anticipated seeking damages "in the millions" of dollars, including punitive damages. In a 1997 decision on the topic, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics was not required to release its infection rates to a potential patient. -- by Jeff Tieman
Suit in works to learn Md. hospital infection rates
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