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Report Indicates a Failure to Report Fatal Hospital Infections in Georgia

December 05, 2016

A Medical Malpractice Attorneys Review Report Indicating a Failure to Report Fatal Hospital Infections in Georgia

While many people are aware that surgical errors, anesthesia errors, and birth injuries are forms of medical malpractice that can result in debilitating or fatal injuries, the impact of preventable infections continues to be a top threat to patient safety. Most hospitals and their medial professionals provide quality medical care to patients.  However, a recent Reuters report described a series of infection-related tragedies in hospitals that caused preventable deaths. For example, an infant who was born fifteen months premature tragically died ten days after birth when the baby developed a fatal infection while in the neonatal intensive care unit. In this blog article, our Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys analyze this new report indicating that some hospitals are not reporting deaths caused by hospital-acquired infections.

The report indicates that the death certificates of patients who died of infections acquired in hospitals do not list infections as contributing factors in their deaths. The failure to report these deaths means that the public does not have an accurate picture of the prevalence of fatal infections acquired in hospitals. Resources exist to allow patients to learn about the history and quality of care at a hospital, but these sources of information are limited in their ability to assist patients in making informed consent without reporting of hospital acquired infections.

Reuters indicated that multiple causes might have played a role in infections being omitted from birth certificates. In some cases, physicians and health care facilities simply lack the knowledge of how to place the information on the forms. The more significant problem is that doctors and hospitals have little incentive to publicly report infections. Disclosure of patient harm from avoidable super infections in hospitals would generate medical malpractice claims, loss of government reimbursements, a diminished flow of business, and higher medical malpractice insurance premiums.

While some might dismiss the risk of a patient or loved one experiencing a hospital-acquired infection as extremely remote, the results of a 2014 project known as the Human Acquired Infections (HAI) Prevalence Survey tell a different story. The study indicated that an estimated 772,000 HAIs just in U.S. acute care hospitals. Approximately 75,000 patients with HAIs died while they were hospitalized. The most common infections include pneumonia, staph infections, urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, and bloodstream infections. While many infections acquired by patients might not be the actual cause of death, half of all people who died with an infection did not have conditions serious enough for intensive care.

If you become infected with an HAI because of improper sterilization procedures, poor ventilation, improper surgical or drain procedures, inadequate injection protocols or practices, or other substandard medical practices. A hospital acquired infection can cause serious or even fatal health complications, tens of thousands of dollars in additional medical expenses, as well as other physical and financial hardships. When hospitals and medical professionals fail to exercise appropriate safety procedures, preventable infections can cause life-threatening complications. The harm and expense that stems from medical errors that cause infections are compensable injuries, so if you believe that you or a loved one has been a victim of negligence from a medical professional or facility, you should seek legal from one of our Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Montlick & Associates. Do not delay in seeking legal assistance, as you have a limited time to pursue a claim.

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If you or someone close to you has been injured by the negligence of a healthcare professional, our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers are committed to pursuing the fullest recovery under the law for our clients. Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout Georgia and in the Southeast for over 38 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.