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Hospital caused infections cost billions

The old saying goes that if you are sick, the one place to avoid is the hospital, received some empirical support recently from a report issued by the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine. The study found that infections developed by patents during their hospital stays required an additional $9.8 billion in medical care.

These Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) often occur with surgical site infections, but other frequently seen infections include the blood, urinary tract infections caused by the use of a catheter, ventilator use and C difficile, a dangerous bacteria that infects the stomach and intestines. These types of infections can be indicative of medical malpractice and can be potentially deadly for a person compromised by illness or surgery.

For a patient or their family, one of the most challenging aspects of HAIs is that you may enter the hospital for a routine surgery or non-life threatening illness, and suddenly find yourself fighting for your life.

Even if a HAI does not lead to a fatality, patients take longer to recover and consume additional health care resources that add to the cost of a hospital stay. The study suggests that it would be cost effective for hospitals to invest time and resources in actively working to reduce HAIs. 

There are programs that are in place to reduce HAIs, but many are still in the provisional stage, but their need is great. In addition to the billions that could be saved in health care costs, tens of thousands of live could be saved. The CBS news story points out that almost 100,000 people die from HAIs every year.

If you suffered complications caused by the negligence of a hospital during your stay, contact an Honolulu medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case.

Source: CBS News, "Study: Hospital infections cost $9.8 billion a year," September 2, 2013

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