According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American hospitals have made "significant progress" when it comes to preventing hospital-acquired infections (HAIs).
Just the same, HAIs are still a major concern. It's estimated that one out of every 31 patients has a hospital-acquired infection at any given point. Too many of those patients -- and their families -- will be misled into believing that the infection was just "one of those things" that sometimes happens following surgery or when someone is ill.
HAIs are problematic for a number of reasons. They make sick people sicker. They can also make people who are relatively healthy -- like those who are going into a hospital for elective surgery or something fairly routine -- very sick. HAIs can also lead to sepsis, or blood poisoning, which can rapidly become fatal.
Most HAIs have their root in one basic issue: cleanliness. Sometimes, the hospital itself may be an issue. Germs can linger on surfaces in a room that hasn't been effectively sanitized by the housekeeping staff between patients. Germs can also lurk in the air conditioning ducts and the drinking fountains. Surgical patients run the risk that contaminated medical equipment or tools will be used in their care.
Other times, the actions of the hospital staff lead to HAIs. Despite the fact that hand sanitation is the best way to prevent an HAI, medical professionals are surprisingly bad about remembering to wash their hands before touching a patient. The CDC says that health care professionals wash or sterilize their hands less than half the time that they should.
If you develop an infection after going into the hospital for any reason, you should automatically suspect that it was preventable. It's highly unlikely that anyone in charge at the hospital will ever openly admit, "We made a mistake. We caused this," when it comes to a hospital-acquired infection. That's why it's important to seek legal assistance from an attorney with experience handling medical malpractice claims. Please visit our main page to learn more about how we may be able to help.