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What you need to know about hospital-acquired infections

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2021 | Medical Malpractice |

When you fall, suddenly get sick or have some other kind of emergency medical situation, you rely on your hospital for care.

Like most, however, you may not realize that you’re at risk of contracting a hospital-acquired infection (HAI) by visiting a medical center or hospital.

How common are hospital-acquired infections?

Data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that at least 1.7 million Americans receive HAI diagnoses annually. At least 100,000 Americans pass away annually after contracting an HAI.

That same data shows how nearly one-third of the overall HAI patients receive urinary tract infection diagnosis. Almost 20% of the HAIs that doctors diagnose patients with are surgical site infections. Pneumonia or lung infections account for 15%, while bloodstream ones account for 14% of the annual HAI diagnoses. 

Who’s most vulnerable to contracting a hospital-acquired infection?

No one is immune to contracting an HAI; however, a patient’s risk of receiving such a diagnosis increases the longer that they spend in the hospital. Children, elderly individuals, and compromised immune systems are at a higher risk for contracting and HAI than other patients. Health care workers are also vulnerable, especially if they fail to often and adequately wash their hands. 

What are the risks associated with hospital-acquired infections?

While doctors often diagnose and treat a patient’s HAI early enough to save their life, that does mean that the infections don’t cause patients significant harm or discomfort.

HAI patients are 60% more likely to have doctors place them in the intensive care unit than others, which often results in them having to stay in the hospital an additional week past their original expected discharge date. They also have five times the chance of doctors readmitting them once they go home. They have twice the chance of dying when compared to patients who don’t acquire HAIs.

There’s a tremendous amount of pain and suffering that can come with any illness, including an HAI. The sad part is that this condition is mostly preventable, though. A medical malpractice attorney can review the reports surrounding your Homerville hospital stay and advise you of how Georgia law may allow you to hold a hospital and your medical team accountable for their negligence.