What You Should Know About Hospital Acquired Infections

Woman in a hospital bedServing Victims of Hospital Negligence in the St. Louis Region

Hospital acquired infections (HAIs) are much more common than patients may realize. These infections occur within the facility, but may not necessarily impact the patient until he or she has already been discharged and sent home. Nosocomial infections are what healthcare professionals call HAIs. In order to have a nosocomial infection, you must have been admitted to the hospital for reasons other than an infection. Also, you must have no signs of an active or incubated infection.

HAIs typically occur:

  • Up to 48 hours post-admission
  • Up to three days post-discharge
  • Up to 30 days post-surgery
  • In a healthcare facility where a patient was admitted for other reasons

In the United States, it is estimated that 9.2 out of every 100 patients will acquire a nosocomial infection.

If you are about to be hospitalized, there are some things to consider about HAIs.

Facts That Your Physician Isn’t Telling You

  1. HAIs are more common than you think. It is estimated that one out of 25 hospital patients will acquire an infection – according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2011, there were 722,000 infections that occurred in hospitals across the country, and 75,000 patients died because of their HAIs. The most common were pneumonia, gastrointestinal illnesses, UTIs, and blood infections.
  2. You may catch an antibiotic-resistant infection at a hospital. Most infections contracted on the hospital level are serious – and often life-threatening. Unfortunately, the most common types of infections found at hospitals are those that are resistant to antibiotic treatments. MRSA is an example of a deadly bacteria that has caused more than 80,000 infections, and more than 11,000 deaths in 2011 (CDC).
  3. You could carry a drug-resistant bacteria, and not know about it. If you are a carrier of MRSA, you may not have any symptoms. But, you are at an increased risk for a MRSA infection post-operation. The only way to avoid this risk is to be treated prior to surgery – but most surgeons do not pre-emptively search for MRSA.
  4. HAIs are not just found among surgical patients. Patients do not have to be recovering for surgery to catch an HAI. In fact, a majority of HAIs contracted in the United States are from compromised immune systems – which can occur in just about anyone being admitted to the hospital. If you are already ill and you are admitted, then your body’s natural defenses are at higher risk for infection.
  5. You can research a hospital’s infection rate online. Before checking into a hospital, research it to see what its infection rate is online. You can tell if it has a higher rate of incidents – and then assess your own risks.

Did You Acquire an HAI? You May Be Entitled to Compensation

If you acquired an HAI during your hospital stay, then you could sue the hospital or physician for malpractice. This is because hospitals are required to sanitize their facility and keep infected patients from spreading their disease to others. If the physician failed to wash his or her hands or sanitize equipment – or if the hospital had an outbreak of a deadly bacteria and did not take measures to prevent the spread – someone else is liable for your HAI. In order to determine if you have a case, you will need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney.

Contact the team at Carey, Danis & Lowe Attorneys at Law today regarding your claim. We offer free consultations. Schedule yours at 877-678-3400 or fill out our online contact form with your questions.