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Hospitals failing to mitigate hospital acquired infections

People visit hospitals or healthcare facilities with the expectation that they will be adequately treated and eventually released in a condition better than when they arrived. However, in many instances this isn't the case.

Recent data shows that 1 in 20 patients who enter hospitals for treatment acquire infections they didn't originally have when they arrived. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control, these infections result in 100,000 patient deaths every year.

Many attribute the problem to nurses, doctors and other hospital personnel simply failing to take adequate measures to prevent patients from getting hospital acquired infections. It seems hand sanitizers and random hand-washing aren't enough to combat the growing problem.

To make matter worse, recent information reveals that some hospital acquired infections are happening because of powerful bacterial strains referred to as "superbugs." For instance, according to recent information provided by the CDC, about 14,000 deaths happened last year due to an intestinal superbug known as Clostridium difficile, or C-diff that causes severe diarrhea.

Proactive measures

Pressure from patient advocate organizations, the government and healthcare insurers, have forced hospitals to take action to win the fight against these hospital superbugs.

Germ resistant copper bed rails, antimicrobial linens and even bacteria resistant wall paint are being utilized by some entities. One company has manufactured a machine available to healthcare facilities that kills C-diff by emanating ultraviolet light.

However, there is no concrete data that these actions reduce superbug infections. According to Dr. L. Clifford McDonald of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just one nurse or hospital personnel carrying the germ is needed to undo the benefits of a multi-million dollar machine known to zap strong bacteria.

Additional measures

Because infections are a risk of hospitalization and tend to be more resistant to antibiotics than infections acquired from the outside community, doctors simply have to be more vigilant in watching for early signs of infection.

A delayed diagnosis of infections in hospitalized patients and/or a failure to commence treatment with an appropriate strength antibiotic are types of medical malpractice that can lead to severe harm to patients-particularly in the wake of these superbugs.

Consulting with an attorney

If you or a loved received a delayed diagnosis and/or improper treatment of an infection at a hospital or healthcare facility, contacting an experienced attorney knowledgeable in this area is advised. A lawyer can assess your situation and offer a course of action.

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