Hospital-Acquired Infections

As you undoubted know if you are a regular reader of this blog, we represent plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases. We average almost three calls per business day from prospective medical malpractice plaintiffs; our screening process weeds out 98% of those calls and therefore we file less than 20 of those cases per year.

We are seeing a significant increase in the number of hospital-acquired infection calls we are getting. Of course, we have always gotten a good number of calls where people complain about getting a staph infection. But we have seen a virtual explosion in the number of calls.

That is why this article caught my eye. Apparently a hospital in Pennsylvania decided to attack the problem and believes that it saved 47 lives by doing so. One doctor said that their three year program demonstrates that “as much as 90 percent of common hospital-acquired infections could be prevented in a year’s time if hospitals paid better attention to hygiene and standardized how intensive care unit patients receive care.”

Other literature supports the conclusion that hospital-acquired infections are a real drain on our health care system and, more importantly, present a real risk to the health of patients. A paper published by the CDC puts the rate at 5 infections per 1000 patient days, double at larger institutions. The death rate is between 17,500 and 70,000 patients per year.

I know that many hospitals are making the effort to reduced the number of hospital-acquired infections. The work of the PA hospital demontrates that it can be done successfully.