Medical Errors Leading to Hospital Acquired Infections

Hospital acquired infections are known to cause substantial harm to patients and are a national concern.

hospital infection

Hospitals are often the first place you go to if you or a loved one is sick. However, hospitals have been found to be home to nosocomial infections, which are commonly called hospital acquired infections (HAIs). The Center for Disease Control has reported that at least one hospitalized patient out of twenty will contract an HAI and there are approximately 100,000 deaths each year caused by HAIs.

What Are Hospital Acquired Infections?

The United States Department of Health and Human Services defines HAIs as ‘infections that patients acquire while they are getting treated for another condition in a healthcare setting’. The health care settings include outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and hospitals. The major groups of HAIs are bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and surgical site infections.

Common Hospital Acquired Infections

Urinary tract infections are common infections that a patient can contract while in a hospital. This is generally caused when a catheter is placed inside the bladder after a surgery. The catheter helps the hospital staff in placing medicines inside the bladder and in measuring the urine output. When the catheter is not properly sterilized, bacteria can be introduced to the bladder through the catheter causing urinary tract infections. Patients who are taking antibiotics and those with compromised immune systems are more prone to these infections.

Surgical site infections are generally caused by medical negligence and are quite common. This is caused during the surgery by using unsterile surgical equipment resulting in growth of bacteria inside of a patient or on a wound. The other common HAI is C Diff. or clostridium difficile, which is spread in hospitals by individuals carrying the bacteria who do not wash their hands. A bacterial infection in a healthy individual can be a severe medial issue. On the other hand, an individual who is already hospitalized for a certain disease becomes infected by an HAI, the risk of death increases.

Why HAIs Are a National Concern

HAIs are known to cause substantial harm to patients and are a national concern. HAIs cost billions of dollars to the health care system. Many HAIs are life threatening; however, at least half of the known infections are preventable. HAIs are also a cause for increased hospital stays – an increase of up to eight days in intensive care units and seven to nine days in acute care wards. These extended stays take up a large chunk of hospital facilities and beds and prevent other patients from accessing much needed resources.

Medical negligence is not the cause for every HAI; however, most HAIs can be prevented if proper care and hygiene in the healthcare setting is maintained. If you have been infected by an HAI due to medical negligence, seek proper legal advice from Zevan and Davidson Law Firm at (314) 588-7200.

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If you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, contact our legal team right away. Waiting to seek legal representation can prevent you from filing a claim and receiving the compensation you deserve.

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