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Infections still pose problem for hospital patients

In most cases, individuals who are receiving care in a hospital believe that while there, they are safe. There is an assumption that as a result of the treatment they receive their condition will improve. While in many situations this is the case, there are times in which during the course of their stay, a patient will actually become worse as a result of contracting an infection. A study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine focuses on this. 

The study looked at a total of 11,282 individuals seeking medical attention from hospitals in between the months of May and September 2011. The individuals were at one of 183 hospitals located throughout the country. Approximately a quarter of those individuals acquired an infection while staying at the hospital. This translates to approximately 721,800 infections. The infections acquired include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Surgical-site infections
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bloodstream infections

While in some cases the patients who acquired these infections recovered, in other situations, the infections led to death. More specifically the study determined that around 75,000 of those who became ill as a result of an infection, died.

The director of the CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion indicated that these numbers can be reduced as a result of actions taken by those who provide the care. In fact, they have. Compared to previous years the numbers uncovered in 2011 were much lower. Consider that in 2002, a total of 155,668 patients died as a result of acquiring an infection. Even more striking may be the number of infections that were reported that year—1.7 million.

When someone acquires and suffers as a result of an infection that could have been prevented, a medical malpractice lawsuit could be appropriate. These cases are usually complex and require lawyers who understand the process associated with medical malpractice lawsuits.

Source: CNN, “1 in 25 patients gets infection in hospital,” William Hudson, March 16, 2014

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