Our Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys recognize that most people think of hospitals as places of healing and recovery, but a new study suggests that sometimes time spent in a hospital can do more harm than good. A new estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta indicates that 1 in 25 hospital patients contract an infection during their time in a hospital. These preventable infections occur almost 722,000 times per year and impact 648,000 patients according to a CDC report published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Even more alarming is the revelation that 11 percent of these infections prove fatal to the patient. In other words, infections that could be prevented with proper precautions cause the death of over 71,000 patients per year in U.S. hospitals.

The new study, which included data from 183 hospitals in 10 states, actually projected a reduced number of infections from the average of 1.7 million infections per year estimated in a prior study. While the number might seem to suggest improvements in infection prevention in hospital settings, the researchers caution that the study methodologies differed dramatically so that it may not be reliable to compare the results.

Another report just released by the CDC provides more detailed data on areas where infection control measures may have improved patient safety and areas where there has not been much progress. The prevalence of infections during ten common forms of surgery has fallen by twenty percent during a recent four year period. Infections related to IV tubes located in the arm or chest to facilitate blood draws, nutrition and administration of drugs have fallen by 44 percent during the same period. However, infections from use of urinary catheters has increased by 4 percent during this period.

Despite some signs of improvement, CDC deputy director Michael Bell indicated to the USA Today that there are still too many deaths from preventable infections. “We are seeing 250,000 cases and 14,000 deaths each year from C. diff and those deaths should be preventable. There’s a sense of urgency.”

The bacterium Clostridium difficile (C. Diff) is spread when C. diff spores remain on hands or bed rails which allows them to be spread to other patients in the hospital. Those patients taking antibiotics are particularly vulnerable to this type of infection. CDC director Tom Frieden emphasizes that health care-related infections still cause the death of 200 people per day during their stay in a hospital.

The CDC indicates that more consistent compliance with basic anti-infection strategies is necessary to reduce hospital infection-related fatalities including:

  1. Consistently washing hands
  2. Reduced use of antibiotics when they are not medically necessary
  3. Prompt removal of catheters and other tubes if they are no longer needed

If you or a loved one suffers a healthcare-related infection during an emergency room visit or period of hospitalization, you may have a right to pursue a claim for medical complications, illnesses or fatalities that result from such an infection. When medical professionals and hospitals fail to observe proper infection prevention procedures, this can constitute a form of medical malpractice that can entitle a patient to financial compensation.

Atlanta Medical Malpractice Lawyers—Advocates for Victims of Medical Negligence For Over 39 Years

If you or a loved one is injured or a loved one dies because of a medical error or omission, make sure you know your legal rights. Contact the Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers at Montlick and Associates. Our firm has been working hard to protect the rights of people injured by negligence throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.