Hospitals Should Do More to Prevent Infections

A Las Vegas Sun editorial last week blasted the inadequate measures taken by most hospitals to prevent the spreading of hospital borne infections.

As the paper explains, while these infection rates–which are almost always preventable–should be dropping as hospital administrators become more aware of the problem, the rates are actually increasing. In fact, in just the area sampled in the investigation, MRSA cases (one of the most common types of hospital infection) rose by nearly 34 percent in 2009.

The rise in infection rates is all the more disappointing because the methods of eliminating the problem are widely known. It is not too much for patients to ask that their hospitals be clean and safe. The only thing needed is for doctors, nurses, aides, hospital administrators and all other medical personnel to step up and follow the well-known prevention procedures. Too many healthcare workers, however, refuse to follow simple steps and risk the lives of all patients instead. As the editorial reports, “among the most egregious of these practices are when patients with contagious infections are placed in rooms with uninfected patients, rooms are not adequately cleaned between patient stays and medical professionals fail to wash their hands”.

The problem is made even more urgent by the seriousness with which the complications affect patients. These infections have the potential to cause complicated harm and even death to those unfortunate patients who happen to fall victim. For example, the investigation found one patient who went into the hospital to undergo hip surgery only to die later from an infection he received at the hosptial.

Overall, estimates suggest that the hospital infections cost Americans up to $30 billion a year in medical bills and claim the lives of over 100,000 individuals. These stats alone should be enough to jolt the medical community into finally doing what is right.

Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti have decades of experience acting as tireless advocates on behalf of patients who received substandard care at hospitals. Inadequate medical treatment is never acceptable. Please contact our offices if you or someone you know has faced similar complications following a hospital visit.

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