An Illinois medical malpractice lawyer often receives inquiries from clients who went into the hospital for one problem only to develop a different life-threatening infection while at the medical facility. These hospital acquired infections remain a prevalent problem in our area and throughout the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1.7 million infections develop in hospitals each year in the U.S., killing near 100,000 patients annually. What makes the situation particularly alarming is the fact that almost all of these infections are preventable if proper cleanliness and hygiene practices are utilized by the hospital.
Increased pressure on the need to prevent these medical errors has led to new approaches to ensure that proper standards are met. For example, hand washing remains one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to cut down on deadly infections. Many hospitals are engaging in “check-list” approaches where medical professionals consistently monitor their hygiene practices. Those facilities that consistently use this method have seen benefits.
Even more innovative approaches exist.
AMED News recently published a story on the use of high tech devices to ensure that hand washing is conducted when necessary. Wireless, infrared radio devices are being used which beep whenever a medical professional has failed to wash their hands before getting near a patient. The device is able to measure the alcohol in the gel used in the hand washing. Besides reminding employees if they have forgotten to clean their hands, the device is also a great tracking tool for facilities.
Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti believe that nearly 100,000 deaths annually from a preventable problem should be considered a near epidemic problem. It is imperative that pressure be put on our medical professionals to practice basic hygiene practices 100% of the time to ensure that lives are saved, healthcare spending is lowered, and fewer families suffer the consequences of deadly medical errors.
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