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Illinois Infection Prevention Problems At Local Surgery Centers

Yesterday we discussed the positive news out of the latest version of the Illinois Hospital Report Card which indicated that local hospitals are slowly improving on their rate of hospital acquired infections. Each Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at our firm believes that these are very welcome results which hospitals should work to duplicate in the coming years. All positive news as it relates to hospital safety should be promoted.

At the same time, all information that reveals problems in medical care or inadequate focus on patient safety measures should also be promoted to ensure that necessary changes are made. For example, the latest issue of the legal newsletter Vested Interest highlighted a Chicago Tribune story which uncovered troubling new information about poor infection control at Illinois surgical centers. The surgical centers involved in this latest news were those that performed same-day procedures. These locations are popular with patients who are in need of surgeries that can be performed in a relatively timely manner with less recovery required. However, the benefit that one gains in less hospital time may come at a cost of an increased risk of falling victim to Illinois medical malpractice.

According to new data from state inspection reports, many of these same-day surgery centers are far too lax in enforcing their safety protocols-placing patients at risk. The specific safety indicator of concern related to infection control. It is incumbent upon these centers to do everything in their power to prevent the spread of dangerous viruses and bacteria which could be particularly deadly to those undergoing surgical operations. Failure to take proper steps to prevent these infections and keep patients safe is an often-hidden and costly type of Illinois medical error.

According to newly released data there were twenty one same-day surgery sites inspected by officials last year. Of that total, two-thirds (14 facilities) were cited by inspectors for deficiencies in their infection-control procedures. Specifically, local regulators noted a variety of problems at these facilities. For example, a Chicago eye surgery center failed to sterilize instruments for as long as necessary-often cutting out 2/3 of the time required to ensure proper control. Another facility cleaned instruments in a sink that had no hot water-a very basic, but potentially deadly mistake. The potential harm caused by these cut-corners should not be underestimated. On top of placing each individual patient at risk, these errors can also cause community-wide problems. Several years ago an outbreak of hepatitis C in Las Vegas was eventually discovered to have been caused by unsafe practices at same-day surgery clinics.

The wide-ranging potential consequences of improper infection control make it imperative to seriously crack down on those that fail to take reasonable step to prevent their spread. Our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers appreciate that the task of improving falls squarely on those who work at these facilities and are in charge of patient safety efforts. Pressure on all sides-from inspectors as well as victims-is important parts of the process that will ultimately lead to improvements necessary to save lives.

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