How Common Are Hospital-Acquired Infections?
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), one out of every 31 hospital patients may suffer from a hospital-acquired infection (HAI) every single day in the United States alone – and other government sources have placed the estimated rate even higher, at 1 in 25.
What Causes Hospital-Acquired Infections?
Whether caused by bacteria, fungus, or viruses, almost all of the top hospital-acquired infections can put vulnerable patients at risk of chronic conditions and even death. Some are even drug-resistant now, and may not be easily eradicated with antibiotics.
That’s why it’s crucial for doctors to carefully monitor their patients throughout a hospital stay, and ensure that all tools and equipment are sanitized regularly. If a doctor fails to exercise due diligence, however, you may end up sustaining serious injuries because of a hospital or healthcare-acquired infection. In those cases, they may be legally liable for covering your injuries.
Here are the top 6 most common hospital-acquired infections to keep in mind before your next visit:
- Pneumonia: Pneumonia is actually the top HAI in the country, making up approximately 25% of all healthcare-acquired infections and costing more than $3 billion to treat annually. Most frequently, pneumonia is contracted through the use of ventilators, when germs from previous patients enter through the respirator tube placed in a patient’s mouth.
- Urinary tract infection: Most often contracted after using a catheter, urinary tract infections or UTIs are also one of the most common infections associated with healthcare, and women are often at greater risk. While UTIs are not typically life-threatening, recent reports have shown that drug-resistant U.T.I.s are spreading, and may put many patients at risk of kidney failure and other dangerous complications.
- Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA infections: More than 3 million cases of Staphylococcus aureus or “staph” infections are recorded each year in the United States, but the staph infections contracted in hospitals are typically categorized as Methicillin-resistant, or “MRSA.” This strain can be contracted in any number of ways, especially when health care settings are not properly disinfected.
- Central line bloodstream infections: When a central line is rigged through a patient’s bloodstream, that patient may be exposed to MRSA, e. Coli, pneumonia, or other pathogens, unless that central line has been disinfected appropriately.
- C. difficile: Clostridium difficile is a gut bacteria that can infect the colon and cause lasting damage, particularly after a colon surgery. The opportunistic spores of this bacterium can linger on hospital surfaces, unknown to healthcare providers – making it imperative that the entire room is cleared and disinfected.
- Surgical site infection: Surgical site infections are one of the main ways that people become exposed to life-threatening pathogens. This is particularly true for surgeries involving the intestines, colon, reproductive organs, or urinary tract, but site infections can occur whenever unclean tools are used during surgery.
Committed Counsel for Your HAI Claim
Although health experts and physicians have been sounding the alarm about hospital-acquired infections for years, it seems that this dangerous trend has only continued to rise over the years. The Leapfrog Group, a nationwide hospital rating and safety ranking organization, published a report in 2018 that showed the number of total hospitals with a 0% infection rate has dramatically decreased since 2015. With more pathogens becoming antibiotic-resistant, this trend could have dangerous repercussions for patients across the country.
At Rash Mueller., our medical malpractice attorney is committed to holding doctors accountable when they contribute to this trend. If you or your loved one have been hurt because of a healthcare-acquired infection, you may be entitled to compensation to cover your ongoing medical costs, as well as your pain and suffering. You shouldn’t have to worry about the additional risk of infection when you visit the hospital, and our Weston legal team will fight for your right to safe healthcare.
Call (954) 914-7116 today for a free consultation with our team!