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Dangers of Hospital-Acquired Infections

Josh Nahum was admitted to a Colorado hospital after breaking his femur and fracturing his skull in a skydiving accident.

The 27-year-old grew ill shortly after undergoing a procedure to drain excess fluid from his head. An antibiotic-resistant bacteria rendered him a quadriplegic, and he died shortly after.

A hospital-acquired infection, not falling over 12,000 feet, killed Nahum.

At FDBR, we know the dangers of hospital-acquired infections. Each day, 1 in 25 patients has at least one infection contracted from a hospital visit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Due to this statistic, hospital-acquired infections was one of the factors in a recent Consumer Reports study on patient safety, revealing that patients sometimes emerge from hospitals with additional and sometimes life-threatening illnesses.

So how widespread are hospital-acquired infections?

In a 2011 survey of 183 hospitals, there were approximately 721,800 infections in 648,000 patients. Around 75,000 of these patients died as a result of a health care-associated infection.

The most common infections were pneumonia, surgical site infections and gastrointestinal infections. Less common were urinary tract infections and bloodstream infections.

According to Consumer Reports, Palmetto Hospital received the lowest ratings in South Florida for surgical-site infections.

Another report from the CDC found some common infections at hospitals are becoming less prevalent. There was a 44 percent decrease in central line-associated bloodstream infections and a 20 percent decrease in infections from common surgical procedures.

However, hospitals still have a long way to go when it comes to infections, which cost the U.S. $9.8 billion each year.

Many wonderful, life-saving actions can be taken in a hospital setting. Just as many, or possibly more, life-threatening things can go wrong. When a medical mistake or hospital error results in serious injury, you may have a negligence lawsuit against the hospital that allowed you to be injured by its doctors, surgeons, nurses and other health care staff.

For more information, please contact us at 305-371-3666.

Source: The New York Times, "Infections at Hospitals are Falling, C.D.C Says," March 26, 2014.

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