While no one looks forward to going to the hospital, it is the go-to place to get intensive medical care and potentially life-saving treatments. Whether we go to the hospital outpatient center, are admitted by our family doctor, or are rushed in to the emergency room, we count on the hospital to have the latest technology available and trained medical staff to treat us. While most hospitals place a heavy emphasis on cleanliness and sanitation, it is next to impossible to contain the spread of infection and viruses in an environment that is so prone to contamination. Despite the best efforts of hospital staff, hospital and healthcare infections have risen to dangerously high levels. If you are facing a hospital visit or stay, be aware of the risks involving healthcare associated infections, as well as what you can do to prevent those risks for you and your loved ones.
Common Healthcare Associated Infections
Healthcare-associated infections have risen dramatically in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that roughly one in 25 people have contracted an infection during a hospital stay, and these infections have proved fatal for over 75,000 hospital patients. According to the CDC, the common causes of hospital infections include:
- Bacterial infections;
- Staph infections;
- Bloodstream infections;
- Catheter associated urinary tract infections;
- Surgical site infections; and
- Ventilator associated pneumonia.
In addition to the above, patients risk being exposed to hepatitis, tuberculosis, and even the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Infections are commonly transferred through blood, and body fluids, and well as airborne viruses and bacteria.
Preventing Hospital Acquired Infections
According to the consumer watchdog group Consumer Reports, the overuse of antibiotics is one of the leading causes of hospital-based infections. The widespread use of antibiotic in hospitals encourages the growth of highly dangerous viruses that are resistant to medication. If you have been in the hospital, you can assume you have been exposed to potentially harmful bacteria. The symptoms of hospital based infections include fever, diarrhea, worsening pain, and swelling or redness at the infection spot.
According to the CDC, there are certain things hospital patients, as well as visitors, can do to help prevent infections. Ways to prevent a hospital infection include:
- Keep your hands clean. Wash frequently, and make sure staff washes their hands before touching you or any instruments that will be used.
- Be smart about antibiotics. Ask why an antibiotic is being prescribed, and if it is medically necessary.
- Know the signs and symptoms of infection.
- Protect yourself by being vaccinated against the flu and other viruses and infections.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Medical Malpractice Attorneys
If you or a loved one has suffered a hospital or healthcare associated infection, contact our experienced Florida medical malpractice attorneys. At Hogan Frick, we fight for the rights of patients and their families, and hold responsible parties accountable for the damages they have caused. With offices conveniently located in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free, confidential review of your case.