Latest Statistics Show Hospital-Acquired Infections Remain a Significant Healthcare Problem

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announces that in 2011 there were approximately 722,000 patients who acquired an infection over the course of their hospital stays.

About 75,000 of them lost their lives as a result, which translates to one in 25 per day. The cause for about half of them isn’t known, but most of the remaining infections stemmed from bacteria on medical devices or sub-par hygiene such as a lack of training or no access to sanitizer for hospital employees.

The following are the most common types of infections that patients developed:

  • pneumonia – 22 percent;
  • surgical site – 22 percent;
  • gastrointestinal – 17 percent;
  • urinary tract – 13 percent; and
  • bloodstream – 10 percent. 

Ventilator-associated pneumonia is common. But the study found that just half of the pneumonia cases were associated with use of a ventilator, which indicates a necessity to look for other causes. One possibility is that patients may be breathing in germs from their own saliva.

Approximately seven out of every 10 cases of gastrointestinal infection involved Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). This infection is linked to overuse of antibiotics and can cause severe, life-threatening diarrhea.

Other bacteria resistant to antibiotics include Staphylococcus aureus (including MRSA), Klebsiella, E. coli and Enterococcus. Hospitals have been taking a variety of measures to combat the spread of these germs.

Finding the source of infection is critical to preventing them. Despite improvements, there is still more work to be done. Other causes that have been considered are visitors bringing in germs and bacteria on doctors’ coats or stethoscopes.

Talking with an Attorney to Learn If a Hospital Infection Was Preventable 

When an infection becomes serious or turns deadly, victims and their families may wonder if there was anything that could have been done to avoid it. Sometimes there isn’t. But there are circumstances in which medical negligence is to blame. If negligence can be proven, it may allow for the filing of a claim. To learn if you have a case, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates: 800-550-0000.

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