For numerous reasons, hospital infections are increasing, and so are medical malpractice lawsuits that claim hospital infections are to blame, from a staph infection causing kidney damage to a flesh-eating bacteria (from an infection) causing death. Alarmingly, and despite hospital arguments, most of these infections are preventable. All too frequently patients are admitted to hospital to be cured and find they are sicker than before: hospitals are making people ill.
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According to the website Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths (RID), a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives, hospital infections kill more Americans each year than AIDS, breast cancer and auto accidents combined. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 100,000 people died of a hospital-acquired infection in 2002, though experts believe the number is actually higher.
"There are about two million people who acquire infections in the hospital each year and become sick," said Dr. Barry Farr, an infectious disease expert in Charlottesville, VA. "Most don't die, but some do."
The Committee RID says that as late as 2004, hospitals didn't need to tell the public of its infection and government agencies did little to deal with the problem. In recent years however, twenty-six states and The District of Columbia have enacted laws requiring hospitals to disclose infection rates to the public.
Historically, the belief was that infections were unavoidable and hospitals were not liable. Now, hospital infections are said to be the next asbestos.
Hospital infections are preventable if hospital staff are trained in the correct procedures and required to follow them. Thankfully, hygiene and infection prevention in many hospitals have become a priority, possibly in part because evidence shows that nearly all hospital infections are preventable when doctors and staff clean their hands and follow other infection prevention measures.
This evidence has put hospitals at greater risk of medical malpractice lawsuits, namely hospital infection lawsuits. And hospitals that don't implement precautions will likely face more lawsuits. This means that, if a jury believes a hospital failed to enforce hand hygiene rules and implement necessary infection prevention practices, it could potentially be found negligent and held liable, even strictly liable in some cases, for patients' infections.
Countries such as Holland, Finland and Denmark, and a few hospitals in the US have almost eradicated drug-resistant infections, such as staph infections. Incredibly,
most other hospitals in the US don't routinely test incoming patients for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacterium responsible for difficult-to-treat infections in humans.
In some hospitals, MRSA is rampant—it is very easy to contract. A study by Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology reports that if you are placed in a
room previously occupied by a patient with MRSA, your risk of infection increases, because the bacteria linger on floors and furniture long after the patient carrying these bacteria is discharged. As well, 70 to 90 percent of patients carrying MRSA are never identified.
Lawsuits that penalize those who violate hand-hygiene rules and fail to screen incoming patients for MRSA, combined with the correct implementation of precautions, may be the best way to improve patient care and prevent hospital infections.
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Washington, DC It’s a sad reality that a facility dedicated to making you well can instead make you sick. It could even kill you. Of course, we are talking about hospitals and the potential to contract a serious, even life-threatening hospital infection. The good news, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, is that the situation is slowly improving [READ MORE]
Birmingham, AL Investigators working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta are working to determine what might have been the source of an infection passed along to 19 patients fed intravenously in six Alabama hospitals [READ MORE]
Los Angeles, CA Health officials in California will attempt to collect data in a different manner because a recent hospital infection study has serious limitations, The Associated Press reports [READ MORE]
My husband was in the hospital for un explained blood loss, a colonscopy was performed. After the procedure, prior to discharge the following morning - he complained of pain in his buttock. He was ignored by nursing staff and was released later that day. I later found out that upon discharge his temp was 9.4 - nothing was told to me about the low temp and he continued to complain of pain in the buttock. Within 12 hrs of discharge my husband was screaming in agony. He had developed the flesh eating bacteria which ate up his whole lower body - within a week he was dead. Had the hospital listened to his complaints have pain and checked into why his temp was so low - something may have been done, before the infection got as bad as it did. No one, should go into a hospital, and end up dying as he did.
Posted by Allyn Chizer
My husband had neck surgery in 10/21/15. We went to the Dr. He put him on antibiotic for two weeks. We had to go back to our family dr. He got more antibiotics. In all he had 3 different antibiotics We came back to the surgon. On 12/2/15 he was told he need surgery again. 4 days later we were told he had contracted MRSA. It's 12/27/15 we are driving back to Houston to see the surgeon again. We are hoping and praying this will take care of the problem.
Posted by California
Kaiser in Vallejo caused the infection when I went in for a colonoscopy. One month later I broke out with boils on my buttocks. Now every time I have any type of blemish, I get an infection and the hospital tells me I have MRSA. I am a 78-year-old woman and do not know what to do. Can you help me?
Posted by Anonymous
My father suffered a stroke three years ago and was admitted to hospital for around 6 months as it was a major stroke he suffered from at home. They delegated a hospital social worker to place my father in a rest home as I had not been given enough time to find the right home for my fathers needs and care. I never signed my father in the home so the social services are liable along with several departments for his demise. The care home I placed two safety orders on and neglect orders against them for negligence due to many things happening to my father, their lack of care and safety. They left a catheter in my father for five months and his daughter myself noticed that he had a severe UTI due to the smell and colour of his urine. I rang his doctor and he even had a PCT nurse with him that day and she never noticed the signs of sepsis. They had put my father to bed shaking with a fever saying he was cold and felt like he was dying ( he was very compos mentis even through the effects of the stroke on his body. I rang his doctor and screamed at the nurse in charge that she was negligent as the blood pressure machine failed and she said it was faulty. Went to get another and it measured very high. The heart monitor was broken and very old. The temperature device was not even registering. My father was taken into hospital after myself his daughter rang an ambulance along with his doctors agreement whom I asked to note the neglect, was livid at the care homes managers response of he was fine earlier. The consultant at the hospital was very perturbed as to why a catheter was left in so long and explained it should be changed every two months to three months, also should be checked for any allergy to the material in some people. My father had contracted sepsis. The hospital left my father screaming in pain for an hour in that time I had asked three doctors to get him some pain relief at the end of that hour I asked to see the person in charge and that I could report them if no pain relief was given. Upon asking a passing doctor he prescribed morphine and it was given straight away along with a drip with IV antibiotics and a sample sent to the micro lab. My father continued to get better then took a turn for the worse a month after being in hospital. We were told he had contracted DC through the antibiotics and was bleeding badly from his rectum and the doctors were having a meeting as to give a blood transfusion as he was severely ill. He was complaining of so much pain in is right side (gall bladder area) when asking the consultant for a scan on this area his Response was no he thought the pain was coming from his hernia. I was determined and was not undermined by this consultant and demanded he have a scan or i would hold him responsible. They finally agreed. My dads gall bladder was very swollen and when the consultant spoke to me he said he had asked the surgeon and he felt he was not well enough to have surgery. He was returned to the home, despite my concerns. I had put a safety order out on the home. I spoke to the social services and many departments it was making myself very ill. I continued the fight for them to find him somewhere. They tried labeling my father with dementia when two solicitors had proven my father was of sound mind. My father asked me to take over his affairs through lasting power of attorney explaining he trusted me explicitly 100%. The ball then got rolling yet in between me looking for another safe place for my father he was rushed in hospital again by myself ringing the ambulance he had the same symptoms complaining of the pain he previously had for months in his back. The care home said it was due to him sitting or being in bed and they turned him every hour pffft. The hospital found a grade four pressure wound causing him yet again sepsis his organs were shutting down days later even though on the correct antibiotics. I received a call early morning at home saying my father was unresponsive and they took us into a side room saying he was dying and be prepared to face this. I held my father and sang an ancient American Indian chant knowing it would really reach inside his mind. He opened his mind and told me to shut up :-) he recovered but was still very sick. He was transported to a rehabilitation hospice where I explain I wanted my father kept in his room not mixing with other patients due to my concerns over hospital acquired infections. One day was told my father had contracted MRSA and we had to take precautions gloves, apron and scrubbing up before entering or leaving his side room. Months later he was placed in the dining room after my instructions not to place him with other patients whom may put my fathers health in jeopardy. I was informed from a member of staff their were several patients with pneumonia and I explained I did not want my father contracting it with his immune system being so low. Upon vising which I did every single day, we found him in the dining room sat close to a patient hacking all over my father. I immediately requested my father be placed in his room, explaining my concerns for my father. He contracted pneumonia which he suffered from severely. I asked for a meeting with the sister in charge and the top consultant dealing with my father. He explained from my fathers file his gall bladder had also ruptured before the scan, so the other hospital had hidden this from me. How much more could my father suffer. This contributed to his immune system being so low and him being placed where he contracted pneumonia this is what killed him. Each day watching my father slowly fading away. It took around three months of his suffering before he passed away. I told them they were all were responsible and will have justice in my fathers name. If it helps save one life it will be worth stringent care, health and safety being adhered too. Justice will prevail.
Posted by Anonymous
Hello I'm from a small town in pa. I was in a horrific car accident last year and was flown to the closest trauma center.I was put in a intensive car unit were I was treated for srios injuries.after release was of course off work for awhile my company boss told me I had 30 days to return or be released I eventually began to walk and was ready to return when I became deathly ill .Extremely high fever and could not eat was so bad I cld not walk more than 5 feet with out stopping to catch my breathe my wife took me to my local er were I thought was just a zit they told me it was mesa and if I wld have waited till the end of the day I probably wld have been dead.I was in hospital twice for this within a six month period.I then was let go from my job for missing to much work.since then my daughter has attracted this disease.can anyone tell me what to do ? Do I have a case?
Posted by North Carolina
Infection from IV at ER to blood vessels causing severe pain and required a return visit to ER per hospital’s request. Hospital is claiming they are not responsible. They know and I know that they are the cause and reason for the infection. Still having some problems after several weeks. Need your advice.
Posted by New York
My mother passed away on November 14, 2014 after having endured treatment for MRSA for two years. She had two PICC lines that were used to administer vancomycin and the majority of her diabetes-related amputations were at one hospital. This same hospital sent her home when she arrived by ambulance even though they were fully aware of her prior medical history. She passed away two weeks later at a different hospital. They confirmed that the MRSA had spread to her brain, heart and spine.
Posted by Anonymous
On september , 16 ,2014 In Spartenburg Sc i was hit by a car as a pedestrian the driver kept going and returned after the ambulance had ben working on me for twenty meanest or so. The police lied on the police report i contacted the chef of police and he never returned my call . This hospital let me leave there with uncovered woons and no medication to prevent infection by the time my family got me home i had a fever of 104 and had to have emergency surgery i have ben fitting for my life for thirteen months till today i am still on antibiotics i can not fined a lawyer to fight my case.
Posted by Anonymous
in 2005 i caught mrsa at foutain valley hospital after three surgerie on my right arm. three month on a central iv. the very last day i was to have the iv line removed i relaps again. a total of three times i had mrsa. till this very day i am scare it will return at any given time. the dr's last told me it was in case in a small sack in my upper right shoulder.under my muscal . from time to time my right shoulder and arm are swollen and very weak.
Posted by Anonymous
After 3hip surgeries on each hip due to avn In September I had another surgery on left hip due to dislocations,I had to have my left hip replaced .i went into peidmont hospital in atlanta ga.i went into the hospital with no infection at all blood work was great,antibiotics were only for precaution my dr denied infection for a while until I started having fluid come from my hip,he did eventually did id which means going in an cleaning my hip two opened me back up two more times .and put antibiots in my hip along with a wound vac which it just sucked them right back out .then said thing were better I tried to get intouch with him during Christmas 2013 no one to help me fluid started again ended up in emergency rm at another hospital northside atlanta,per my primary dr advice the ortho dr. When he came back after Christmas vacation went to see him bring him up to date with issues he dropped me as a patient I had a spacer put in all infection with I.v. Antibiotics and tested all infection was gone had hip put back in now another infection after being in the hospital. I am at my wits end thank god for many blessing , I really feel so bodies are dropping the ball so to speak not doing their job properly and no one is held responsable I currently still on I.v. Antibiotics and eventually oral forever. People need to be accountable but who?
Posted by Anonymous
My Mom was " ABUSED & NEGELECTED " in 3 different Indiana hospitals !!! Greenfield , Hospital (suffered a punctured esoghpochal tear & collapsed lung ) & Methodist Hospital a.k.a. Clarion & IU Health Hospital (suffered from 11 " BED SORES " & Hospital Acquired Infections ) & Vencor Hospital ( shattered arm & numerious other injuries from treatment or the lack thereof ) If u don't think that's bad enough wait till u report it to the State of Indiana !!! They will have investigators " falsify reports, attorney's payed off to commit " MALPRATICE " & interfere with the " MEDICAL MAL-PRATICE BOARD " I welcome all comments & look foreward to talking to my fellow " HOOSIERS " 1 (765) 216-6084
Posted by Ohio
I lost my husband of 27 years and his income was lost too and our lives will never be the same, how am I to ever trust a hospital again.
Posted by Alabama
I lost my job that I had for 20 years because I could not get back to work quickly enough because of the hospital acquired MRSA infection. This job I had paid me over $120,000 yearly. Because I now cannot walk even as well as I did before the surgery I have not been able to find another job even at a much reduced income level.
Posted by New Jersey
Unexpected and extended pain and discomfort. Constant worries of further infection. Loss of work for almost 2 months. Additional hospitalization expenses due to neglectful procedures in the operating room.
Posted by Utah
My knee has had sever damage done to it from the infections, my knee will never be the same, I am in constant pain. I have also got a pulmonary embolism from all the surgeries that I have had. I have had 3 picc lines and I have been on 4 different kinds of antibioitics to try and fight the infections. I have several days of work and I have been in and out of the hospital so many times.