When a medical professional forgets to do something as basic as wash their hands, they put patients’ lives at risk. Unfortunately it is a common medical mistake and is a major cause of infectious disease among patients in hospitals. The cost of infections acquired in hospitals is as high as $34 billion a year due to the prolonged hospital stays in order to get over their infections. Infections can also turn deadly, especially among more vulnerable patients.
Strictly enforcing sanitary protocols, such as washing hands regularly and using hand sanitizers, can reduce the number of hospital acquired infections dramatically. Hospitals are confined spaces and bacteria abound. Viruses do as well, and are sometimes spread when a healthcare professional goes to work with a cold. If a doctor or nurse enters a patient’s bed area or touches the bed rail and they have not washed their hands, bacteria can be deposited which can lead to infection.
For example, in a study on privacy curtains around patients’ beds, found that 12 of the 13 curtains in the study were contaminated with bacteria within a week. This showed that privacy curtains may be an important site of contamination since they are frequently touched by both patients and providers. An important way to prevent this type of transfer of bacteria is hand washing.
Types of Infections
Types of hospital acquired infections include gastrointestinal, respiratory, and skin infections. The risk of patients contracting these infections increases with poor hand hygiene. One such infection is a “staph” infection, short for Staphylococcus aerus bacteria. An especially serious type of this is MRSA.
Hospital Acquired Infections and Wrongful Death
Not only do hospital acquired infections result in longer stays in hospitals, and greater costs, but they can also kill people. Grieving families of a person who has died as a result of a hospital acquired infection have a right to consider a wrongful death lawsuit. While not every hospital acquired infection is the result of a hospital error, many are, due to failure to follow simple sanitary protocols.
If you or a loved one has been injured or has died as the result of contracting a hospital acquired infection, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your case.
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