When patients enter the hospital, they don’t plan on getting sicker once they are. But a lot of them do because of hospital acquired infections (HAI). Many of the infections can be deadly. Some require long hospital stays to battle the infection and cure the patient.
If you or someone you love suffered because of a hospital acquired infection, you may be eligible to seek compensation by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital. To find out if you qualify, contact a skilled injury lawyer from the law firm of Bertoldo, Baker, Carter & Smith.
Seventy-five percent of all health-care acquired infections occur in:
A 2012 report on hospital-acquired infections was published by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine, the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Duke University Health System Patient Safety Center. The report, summarized in a news release, focused on just one of common type of hospital acquired infections — central line bloodstream infections.
Central Line Bloodstream Infections
Central lines are flexible tubes inserted into a patient’s vein to supply him or her with important fluids or medications. These medicines and fluids save lives, but infections introduced by the tubes and the way hospital workers use them can lead to fatal infections. These types of infections are among the most deadly and costly hospital associated infections in the U.S.
Central line infections cause roughly 31,000 people to die a year at a cost of approximately $9 billion to the healthcare system. Such infections can be avoided relatively easily, the report said.
The collaborative investigation involved patients in 45 intensive care units in 35 hospitals in 12 states. Patients were divided into two groups, those treated with special preventive practices and those who were treated without these special measures to reduce infection.
The special practices included a system for hospital personnel to evaluate the institution’s “culture of safety,” to be specially trained in avoiding infection, to identify problems in the hospital system for preventing infection, and to improve communication. These are only a few of the safety practices mentioned.
Practices to control infection in IV Line Insertion include:
- Hand washing before inserting the line
- Wear a body drape, hat, gloves, mask and gown
- Avoid inserting the line at the femoral site (into a vein in the groin)
- Clean the insertion site with chlorhexidine
- Remove lines that are no longer needed
Infection was reduced 70 percent in the special prevention group compared with 21 percent in the control group (the group where no special procedures were instituted). After the study, the infection-prevention group continued using their anti-infection methods and the control group began to use them also. The infection rate fell to under one in 1,000 line days.
Cost to the Nation
A review of the literature published in 2009 showed that health-care acquired infection cost the country from about $28 billion to $34 billion every year. Hospital personnel at most hospitals have made a major effort to reduce the number of healthcare acquired infections at their institutions. Some hospitals, however, lag behind in emphasizing the importance of preventing these infections.
Have You Been a Victim of a Healthcare Acquired Infection?
If you or a loved one became infected after entering the hospital and had to fight off the infection with drugs, you understand the frustration and even the fear of confronting this problem. Some infections can be very resistant to treatment. Some can be deadly.