When people get sick, they go to the hospital for treatment. Unfortunately, while some patients can get better by visiting the hospital and other medical care facilities, some become sicker there.
Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are nosocomial infections that patients get while at the hospital, surgical centers, nursing homes or rehabilitation centers.
Who’s most at risk for contracting an HAI?
While all patients are potentially at risk of contracting an HAI, some individuals are more apt than others, including the elderly, young children and those with compromised immune systems. The longer you are in the hospital, the greater your chances for an infection. Any patient treated by a health care worker that fails to wash their hands, prescribes too many antibiotics or uses in-dwelling catheters has a significant risk of infection.
How common are HAIs?
Health care-acquired infections are a serious issue. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that at least 1.7 million Americans receive HAI diagnoses every year. These result in nearly 100,000 annual fatalities. The breakdown of the nearly 2 million infections that occur in the U.S. on a yearly basis are as follows:
- Urinary tract infections: nearly 33%
- Surgical site infections: 20%
- Pneumonia or lung infections: 15%
- Bloodstream infections: 14%
Patients who end up being diagnosed with HAIs tend to spend, on average, nearly an extra week in the hospital. Their chances of being readmitted after discharge are five times that of patients who don’t receive HAI diagnoses. HAI patients are also twice as likely to die from their condition. Those with HAIs are 60% more likely to end up in the intensive care unit than other patients.
What do you if you contracted an HAI?
Countless patients go to the doctor, hospital or nursing room suffering from one condition only to deteriorate or die because of another one they contracted there. Unfortunately, many patients or their loved ones don’t hold their doctors accountable because they don’t know how to prove negligence. Learning more about your legal options is wise.