Bed Bug Infestations at Hospitals

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More than any other type of setting, clinics and hospitals are expected to be sanitary.  You would never accept a surgeon who didn’t wash their hands, or a nurse who didn’t use clean needles, so why would you ever accept a hospital infested by bed bugs?  Even healthy people can contract serious diseases and infections from bed bug bites – and for people who are already ill or injured, exposure to bed bugs can mean additional weeks or months of sickness and pain, to say nothing of the additional medical bills.

If you or your loved one was bitten by bed bugs while staying at a hospital or visiting a patient, you deserve to be compensated for the expenses and suffering you’ve been burdened with.  Our attorneys understand that you simply want to focus on getting better and spending time with your loved ones as you heal, which is why we will step in to handle all of the legal work on your behalf.  Our hospital bed bug lawyers will fight aggressively to recover maximum compensation for you and your family, because we believe medical facilities should be held accountable when they provide vulnerable patients with hazardous, unsanitary conditions.

Whenever you’re ready to talk about your hospital experience, our bed bug attorneys will be here to listen and provide you with straightforward legal guidance.  To schedule a free, confidential case evaluation, call the law offices of Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000.

bed bug infestation

How Do Infestations Happen and Grow?

Some bugs and insects are extremely sensitive to factors like heat and humidity.  Bed bugs are not among them, and are hardy enough to infest virtually any type of environment.  In fact, medical facilities are actually an ideal setting for bed bugs to breed and flourish, for multiple reasons:

  • Bed bugs feed exclusively on blood, which is available in abundance in medical settings. With such a plentiful food source readily available, bed bugs have no incentive to leave.
  • Most patients spend the bulk of their time recuperating in bed, and some are entirely bedbound. While bed bugs can thrive in any type of material, including curtains, robes, and rugs, mattresses are their ideal home because of the close proximity this gives them to their prey (i.e. sleeping humans).
  • Because hospitals are crammed with people, it’s very easy for bed bugs to spread with minimal effort. If one room has bed bugs, it’s likely the population will begin to spread within a matter of months if not weeks.  This issue is exacerbated by the frequent changing of bed sheets and gowns, as the bugs fall off and scatter throughout the facility.
  • New people are constantly filtering in and out of hospitals, which means there are countless opportunities for a population to be introduced.
  • It’s inconvenient enough for a renter or homeowner to leave their residence for a heat treatment. This issue is even greater in a hospital setting.  Many hospital patients cannot be readily or safely transferred, which means hospital staff may initially attempt to use less effective remedies that merely allow an infestation to worsen.

bed bugs in hospitals

Bed Bugs in Hospital Settings: Studies and Statistics

In 2013, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published a study on the prevalence of bed bugs in American hospitals (see CMAJ. 2013 Aug 6; 185(11): E524).  The study found that “in the United States, more than a third of pest management companies responded to bed bug infestations in hospitals in 2012, up by more than 50% from 2011, according to [a 2013] bed bug survey released by the National Pest Management Association [NPMA].”

The study goes on to add that “hospital infestations are difficult to measure because there are no surveillance procedures and there is little research on the subject outside of pest control companies.”  This “lack of surveillance procedures” is a disturbing thought, since we all expect medical facilities to follow the most rigorous standards for safety and cleanliness.

The results of a 2013 survey conducted by the NPMA in conjunction with the University of Kentucky revealed that, among surveyed pest control companies, 12% reported finding infestations in hospital settings (compared with 67% for hotels and motels, 24% for nursing homes, 17% for office buildings, and 10% for primary schools and secondary schools).  The 12% number represents a tremendous increase: double the findings of a survey taken just a few years earlier, as noted by one “Bugs Without Borders” executive summary.

Pest control company Orkin also conducted its own survey on the subject.  According to Orkin, “[one survey] respondent documented a 500% increase in cases from 2008 to 2009.  Taken together, Orkin branch locations reported more than 500 treatments in hospitals and health care facilities and more than 130 treatments in long-term care facilities related to bed bug infestations.”

This data paints an alarming picture.  Not only are bed bugs already prevalent in medical settings – they’re becoming increasingly common.  As noted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), bed bugs have become resistant to many of the most widely-used pesticides, and are able to thrive even when bombarded by chemicals and irritants which would discourage other species.  Until the problem is solved, hospital patients and visitors will continue to suffer the consequences.

If you suffered from an illness, injury, or property damage after getting bed bugs at a hospital, you could be entitled to compensation.  The attorneys of Whitney, LLP can help.

While our law offices are located in the Baltimore area, we represent clients in counties across Maryland, including Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County, Montgomery County, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.  To start learning about your family’s legal options in a free and private consultation, call us at (410) 583-8000.