Healthcare Infections: Almost 100,000 Casualties Every Year
January 31, 2019
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), not enough progress has been made when it comes to preventing healthcare-associated infections. Even though medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, the agency estimates that at any given point – and on any given day – an average of 31 Americans are suffering from one or more healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs.
What’s a “Healthcare-Associated Infection”?
A healthcare-associated infection is any type of infection that is acquired as a result of health care. In other words, it is an infection that an individual develops while receiving care at a medical facility – like an emergency department or even at a doctor’s office – that he or she did not have prior to being treated or admitted for care.
There are many different kinds of healthcare-associated infections, though some of the most common ones are:
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia, or VAP;
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infections;
- Central line-associated bloodstream infections, and:
- Surgical site infections
As you can tell, some of these infections develop after a person undergoes a surgical procedure, such as a surgical site infection. Others happen after something as routine as a nurse or technician putting in a central line – or catheter – to collect blood or to give medications and/or fluids.
Sometimes healthcare-associated infections can be treated, but at others the consequences prove to be deadly. Altogether, the CDC estimates that there are nearly 1.7 million cases of HAIs every year, and approximately 99,000 people die because of them.
How do HAI’s Happen?
The majority of HAIs are avoidable, but healthcare professionals sometimes practice substandard care and compromise a person’s overall health and safety. Some examples of failures in care that result in preventable and sometimes fatal HAIs include:
- Failure of a medical personnel to wash his or her hands before coming into contact with a patient and/or before handling medical equipment;
- Deviation from accepted sterilization and disinfection guidelines, and:
- Failure to quickly or correctly diagnose a brewing infection, in addition to the failure to correctly identify a patient’s infection risk levels
In the instances where a healthcare-associated infection was avoidable but the actions of a healthcare professional were negligent, it is a good idea to talk to a lawyer. Medical fees can add up quickly, especially when someone requires treatment for a serious blood, tissue, or surgical site infection. Staying vigilant and ensuring that healthcare workers are accountable for a commitment to safe practices – or being held responsible for the failure to abide by them – only helps to lower the number of healthcare-associated infections that happen every year.
Are you a Victim of Medical Negligence or Malpractice?
If you have questions about an illness or injury you sustained while under the care of a medical professional, our team of medical malpractice attorneys can help. Filing a medical malpractice claim can help ease the financial burden that all too often accompanies medical mishaps and mistakes. To learn more, contact a representative at our firm directly.
Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Representing Injured Individuals Since 1947
If you were a victim of medical negligence, our medical malpractice lawyers in Philadelphia are happy to answer your questions and will review your case for free. Galfand Berger has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.