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Doctor Failure to Wash Hands Kills 100,000 Patients a Year

A new op-ed in the Lexington Herald-Leader discusses the vast consequences for patients of even simple mistakes by medical providers. Hand washing is known by all to be an important step in providing a clean, sterile environment at all hospitals in the country. However, most people are not aware that many healthcare providers fail to wash hands as frequently and properly as necessary, ultimately leading to patient complications and death cause by contractions of hospital acquired infections (HIAs).

Overall, this preventable doctor negligence kill a staggering 100,000 patients each year and increases medical costs by $30 billion per year. As these numbers indicate the problem is reaching near epidemic proportions. The scope and detail of the HAI problem is not well known because many hospitals have no reporting requirements. In other words, there is no way for any individual patients to learn about a particular hospitals infection-rate in making the decision to attend one facility over another.

MRSA has long been known as the most common and dangerous HIA, but that has recently changed. As the article discusses, clostridium difficile (C. diff) is now considered the most common hospital acquired infection. Clostridium difficile is a bacterium that often causes life-threatening diarrhea.

Hand washing has long been known to curb the problem drastically. Frequent use of alcohol based rubs are also sometimes claimed to have improved the cleanliness at many hospitals. However, alcohol does not kill C. diff because it is spread by sores. Old –fashioned scrubbing hands with soap and water is the only way to properly fend off its advance. Healthcare providers are still failing to do it sufficiently, however, leading to rising rates of C.diff and MRSA infections at many local hospitals.

Patients enter hospitals in order to improve their health. No one should contract a deadly and costly illness while seeking care because of preventable hospital mistakes. Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti remain constant advocates for all patients and their families who suffer at the hands of hospital negligence. Please contact a medical malpractice lawyer if you or someone you know was a victim of these deadly errors.