It is estimated that over 48,000 people die in the U.S. every year as the direct result of an infection they acquired while staying in a hospital. This number, however, is a conservative estimate and so the true number of deaths could actually be much more. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.7 million people acquire an infection while staying at a hospital and up to 99,000 people died every year.
Hospital infections, also known as nosocomial infections or hospital-acquired infections, are infections which tend to be contracted at hospitals. This could either be because another patient or staff member was infected and then spread it around or it could be because the unique environment at a hospital created the conditions which made the spread worse. With the help of a West Virginia medical malpractice attorney at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, you can take the legal action you need to receive compensation after an illness of this nature.
The three most common types of hospital infections are bloodstream infections, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections. A bloodstream infection is simply bacteria entering the bloodstream. The bacteria could enter the bloodstream through a wound or during a surgery. It could also occur because of an injection. In some cases, a patient may have this infection (known as bacteremia) and now display any symptoms. In other cases, they could have a fever or undergo septic shock.
Pneumonia is lung infection that can be caught while in a hospital. It may appear as a cough and the victim could have difficulty breathing. Most people are able to recover without treatment, but young children, elderly people, or people with a weaker immune system could experience more difficulty getting over the infection. Healthcare-associated pneumonia is often more severe because the people are already battling some other form of sickness.
The last main type of hospital infection is a urinary tract infection. Usually these infections are not serious, but they can worsen if not treated correctly. Urinary tract infections can affect the urinary tract, the bladder, and the kidneys. If bacteria enter any of these areas, the rest could be affected. Symptoms of urinary tract infections include pain urinating, tender stomach, fever, chills, nausea, and kidney pain. Steps need to be taken to avoid this occurring in a hospital as it is the most common hospital-acquired infection in the U.S.
Why are hospital-acquired infections so common? What risks increase the likelihood that a hospital-acquired infection may occur? First of all, people who are in a hospital are usually there for a reason. Whatever illness they are dealing with or surgery they underwent will most likely lead to a lowered immune system. Their defenses for fighting off infection are considerably weakened. Young children and elderly patients also have an increased risk of getting an infection. Devices used by a hospital such as catheters, IVs, and surgical drains can actually act as a pathway for germs to enter into the patient’s body.
Patients who are receiving certain types of treatments may be more at risk of acquiring an infection. For example, blood transfusion, immunosuppression, and antimicrobial therapy can all increase the risk of an infection. If the hospital does not take the necessary precautions to minimize the risk of a hospital infection, they could be held responsible for the patient’s condition. Hospital staff needs to practice proper sterilization, isolation, handwashing, and sanitation in order to protect patients.
Our team at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC is able to help victims of medical malpractice as well as other forms of personal injury. We have over 35 years of combined experience on our side and are dedicated to fighting to secure our clients’ the maximum amount of compensation for what they have gone through. Contact our office today to learn more about how we could help you.