Hospitals provide lifesaving medical testing and treatments for people suffering from a variety of different types of injuries or diseases, and we depend on the hospitals’ doctors, nurses, and staff to ensure our procedures are done properly and that we get the attention and care we need. Unfortunately, these are some simple and common types of medical mistakes and errors that can occur in these settings, all of which have the potential to put patients lives at risk. Healthcare associated infections are a common problem in hospitals throughout the United States, and while recent studies show Florida has dramatically improved in correcting situations leading to these infections, basic sanitary practices in most hospitals in our area still need improvement.
The Facts About Healthcare Associated Infections
According to recent statistics from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs, impact as many as 720,000 patients each year. These types of infections can cause serious, potentially debilitating, and even life threatening conditions for patients, and are generally preventable provided the hospital follows routine safety practices. Most infections are the result of negligence in taking the necessary precautions to maintain a clean, sterile environment for the patient, in addition to oversights which ideally would not occur in a hospital setting. The CDC lists the following types of HAIs commonly found in hospitals throughout the country:
- Central line associated infections, caused by improperly cleaned and maintained intravenous lines;
- Catheter associated infections of the urinary tract, caused by leaving devices in for overly long periods of time;
- Surgical site infections, caused by routine errors in cleaning and maintaining surgical wounds;
- Bloodstream infections, caused by exposure to dangerous bacteria;
- Antibiotic resistant infections, which results in ‘super viruses’ as the result of over prescribed antibiotics.
CDC fact sheets on HAIs in Florida indicate that while the Sunshine State has made great progress over the last several years in reducing the overall rate of these types of infections, we continue to fall well above the national average when it comes to the number of bloodstream infections. While these illnesses can easily be prevented by following routine sanitary practices, such as employee hand washing and careful sanitization of hospital rooms and surfaces, as many as 152 hospitals throughout the state continue to struggle with addressing this problem.
Checking Your Hospital’s Safety Score
If you or someone you care about is facing a hospital stay or the need for treatment in a hospital setting, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. In addition to taking actions such as bringing your own sanitizer to use on your room and requiring all hospital staff to thoroughly wash their hands before entering, you can also check your hospital’s ranking when it comes to doing their part to prevent HAIs. Consumer Reports offers a hospital ratings guide that ranks facilities throughout the country, including those in Florida. The guide offers ratings on areas such as preventing patient infections, providing accurate and thorough discharge instructions, and avoiding over prescribed antibiotics. Each hospital is assigned an overall safety score which allows you to compare the facility with other local providers, as well as against national standards in hospitals throughout the country.
Reach Out to Us for Help
If you or someone you care about has suffered complications due to an HAI, contact Hogan Frick today. Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys understand the serious ramifications these types of infections can have on your overall health, and can advise you on how to get the compensation you need to recover. We serve the Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland areas; call or contact us online today for a free consultation.