The Rise in Healthcare Associated Infections
When we are seriously ill, injured, or in need of a surgical procedure, we head to our local hospital. Hospitals have long been considered a safe haven, a place we can go to in an emergency to get care. It is a place that oversees birth, death, and everything in between. Unfortunately, while we go to the hospital to get better, increasing numbers of people have ended up getting sick with serious and even potentially fatal illnesses as a result of their hospital visit. Healthcare associated infections have risen to alarming heights and cause significant damages and losses for an increasing number of people. Understanding what these infections are and what causes them may help to prevent you or a loved one from being infected the next time you go to the hospital.
Types of Healthcare Associated Infections
According to surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on any given day there are approximately one in 25 hospital patients suffering the adverse effects of a healthcare associated infection. A study conducted in 2011 by the CDC found over 700,000 hospital patients who were infected, and close to 75,000 people who died as a result of infections they contracted during the time they were hospitalized. Common types of healthcare associated infections include:
- Gastrointestinal illness;
- Urinary tract infections;
- Primary bloodstream infections;
- Surgical site infections.
While the above infections are the most common, they are not the only types of disease that put hospital patients at risk. Other infectious diseases reported to be acquired in hospital settings include hepatitis, staph infections, tuberculosis, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Risk Factors for Healthcare Associated Infections
The U.S. Department of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion reports that healthcare associated infections have a significant impact on our country, costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars to the healthcare system. These types of infections can and do happen anywhere that healthcare is provided, in hospitals as well as in urgent care facilities, nursing homes, outpatient surgical centers and rehabilitation facilities. Healthcare associated infections occur due to exposure to an infectious agent, such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus. Having certain types of procedures or requiring certain types of medical care can increase your chances of developing an infection. Risk factors for healthcare associated infections include:
- Having any kind of surgical procedure;
- The need for invasive devices, such as catheters and central lines;
- Being placed on a ventilator;
- Receiving injections and transfusions; and
- Being given antibiotics.
In addition to the above, basic hospital sanitation and patient to patient contact also play a role in the transmission of healthcare associated infections. Inadequate hand washing, contaminated instruments, and a non-sterile environment all increase the frequency of infection and help dangerous and life threatening germs and bacteria to spread among patients.
Contact an Experienced Florida Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you know has suffered a healthcare associated infection or been injured during a hospital stay, contact an experienced Florida medical personal injury lawyer today. At the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III, our lawyers will fight to hold responsible parties accountable and help you to get the compensation you deserve. Our office serves the entire Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie, Vero Beach, Saint Lucie, and Indian River Counties. Call us at (772) 595-6654 for a free consultation.