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Hospital infections and the risks they pose to patients

Written by Ankin Law Office

When patients seek treatment at Chicago hospitals, they expect to receive the best possible care. Unfortunately, hospital acquired infections have become a common addition to the experience, due in part to continuing hospital negligence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 25 hospital patients have at least one infection that they did not enter the hospital with. An estimated 75,000 individuals died as a result of these infections during their hospital stays in 2011.

Types of infections

While any kind of infection can occur in a hospital setting, according to the CDC, the most common infections include the following:

  • Pneumonia
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Gastrointestinal illness
  • IV-associated infections
  • Surgical site infections

Surgical site infections are the most common type of hospital acquired infection with 157,500 incidences, followed closely by pneumonia and gastrointestinal illness each year.

Potentially deadly consequences

When patients receive poor medical care resulting in an infection, the consequences can be deadly. Patients may be prevented from undergoing their original treatment plans, endure lasting effects from the infection, lose body parts, or even lose their lives.

Medical News Today reported on a recent study that correlates the amount of time a patient stays at the hospital with their chances of acquiring a superbug, or a bacterial infection that does not respond to the drugs typically used for treatment. The study, released by researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina, utilized historical data from 949 cases of hospital-acquired infections during hospitalization during the study. They found that if a patient acquires a certain kind of bacterial infection known as gram negative, their chances of that infection being multidrug-resistant increases one percent for every day the patient stays at the hospital.

How patients can protect themselves

One of the most important tools for patient safety is never being afraid to ask questions. Prior to admittance, patients should ask for hospital reports indicating infection rates and incidences. If a patient doesn’t understand the reports, they can ask for clarification, and they should never let anyone brush their concerns aside. Learning about the hospitals weak points can help a patient stay vigilant.

Patients have more power than they realize. Due to their high infection rates, patients should ask to remove their urinary catheter as soon as possible following surgery. Similarly, patients should ensure that their IVs are only in for as long as they need to be. Ultimately, the patient should remember that they are in charge and have the power to help themselves in a hospital setting.

Those who have experienced the effects of an infection brought on through the negligence of hospital workers should contact a Chicago medical malpractice attorney. Experienced attorneys can help patients seek compensation to help them regain their lives.

Categories: Medical Malpractice