No one goes to a hospital, nursing home or other type of medical facility expecting to get sicker. Yet, poor sanitation techniques are the primary culprit behind an epidemic of health care acquired infections at medical facilities.
At hospitals alone, The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1.7 million cases of infection will contribute to more than 90,000 deaths on an annual basis.
Common sources for health care associated infections include:
- Surgical incisions
- Blood transfusions
- Surgical hardware
- Patient rooms and medical equipment.
The More Commonly Encountered Healthcare Associated Infections Remain:
Clostrim Difficile – Known as C. Diff, it is an infection in the colon that can cause severe illness or even death when treatment is delayed. Spread though feces, C. Diff can readily spread to patients living in the close quarters of a nursing home or hospital when staff fails to wash their hands between treatments with patients or when other common sense sanitation practices are ignored.
Methacillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus – Referred to as MRSA, it is a bacterial super bug that is resistant to most type of antibiotics. Carried by some patients on admission, MRSA can prove especially difficult to treat when it is introduced to the body during invasive medical procedures. When not identified and treated by medical staff, MRSA can contribute to ongoing medical problems or death.
Psedomas aeruginosa – A strain of bacteria commonly responsible for respiratory infections. In many cases of psedomas aeruginosa, infected people develop peneumonia that is difficult to treat with most types antibiotics.
Klebsiella pnuemoniae – An infection that is particularly destructive to the lungs, causing a thick coating to the lining of lung tissue, gradually making it more difficult to breathe. Unless treatment is initiated quickly after diagnosis, the fatality rate for patients with klebsiella pneumoniae is over 50%.
Necrotizing fasciitis – Most commonly caused by Group A Streptoccus, necrotizing fasciitis destroys muscle and other soft tissues as the bacteria feed on the healthy cells. Commonly referred to as flesh eating bacteria, necrotizing fasciits can lead to serious medical complication such as: toxic shock syndrome, sepsis, amputations or death. Given its dire consequences, hospitals and nursing homes need to be mindful of the presence and implement antibiotics as soon as feasible.
Preventing Healthcare Associated Infections
HAI contribute to billions of healthcare costs and close to 2 million people who are infected every year. Hospitals, government agencies and health insurance companies all have vested financial interests in reducing these infections yet they continue to happen. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there are a few simple steps that can help reduce these deadly and costly infections.
- Hand Hygiene. It is estimated that healthcare workers only adhere to proper hand hygiene procedures 40% of the time.
- Environmental cleanliness. Chemical germicides, disposal patient care items and continuous surface cleaning are necessary to keep hospital environments clean.
- Personal protective equipment. Gloves, face masks, gowns and eye protection can reduce the spread of infection from patients to healthcare workers and then on to other patients.
- Consistent use of prevention practices. Although most healthcare professionals know the correct procedures, they often do not use them consistently and cite that time restraints, inconvenience and presumption that patients are not infected are the main reason they do not use the proper preventive
Lack of an Infection Control Policy Leads to Outbreaks at Medical Facilities
Given the prevalence of healthcare acquired infections, medical facilities need to create and implement an infection control policy to protect patients, visitors and staff. The healthcare malpractice attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC work with some of the leading authorities in the fields of infectious disease to review healthcare infection cases. Put our experience to work for you by allowing us to review your hospital, nursing home or medical facility infection case.