Despite hospitals taking measures to reduce the number of patients who are infected with “superbugs,” hospital-acquired infections that are difficult to treat, the numbers continue to be significant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hospital-acquired infections are the cause of approximately 100,000 deaths every year.
As a result, hospitals seek new methods for preventing the spread of infection in their facilities. But there is not yet enough evidence to support or oppose the success of these attempts.
Examples of products hospitals use to fight infections include:
- antimicrobial curtains, wall paint and linens;
- robotic machines (that release hydrogen peroxide vapors or emit ultraviolet light); and
- germ-resistant IV poles, call buttons and bedrails.
It’s hard to say for sure whether these and other measures, if used in conjunction with a thorough cleansing, will help reduce the number of patients infected. Yet the fact remains that many of these cases are preventable.
Common Types of Hospital Infections
Some hospital-acquired infections are more common than others. For instance, Clostridium difficile (C. diff), an intestinal bacteria, can cause severe diarrhea. It results in about 14,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Another common type is a urinary tract infection (UTI) caused by bacteria that may be found in a catheter. Approximately 75 percent of patients who develop a UTI in the hospital do so as a result of the tube, according to the CDC.
Pneumonia that develops when a patient is on a ventilator is another common type of infection. The bacteria may collect in the ventilator tube, which may spread to the patient via the ventilator.
Spread of infections can be caused by a lack of good hygiene (improper hand washing, not wearing gloves), ineffective sanitizers and improperly cleansed equipment/rooms (television remote controls, bedrails). If it’s believed that hospital liability was the cause of a serious illness or infection, contact an attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates.