At The Gogel Law Firm, our medical malpractice attorneys in St. Louis understand that no one should have to worry about visiting a hospital for medical care, only to leave in a worse condition than when they arrived.
The reality is, if you are checking into a healthcare facility via the emergency room after a vehicle collision or by appointment for a routine surgical procedure, several factors can lead to hospital-acquired infections that can significantly compromise your health, or worse, lead to death.
Below, our Missouri personal injury attorney, Jeremy A. Gogel, relays important facts about hospital-acquired infections, and who can be held liable for the spread of these potentially deadly circumstances when they occur.
What is a Hospital-Acquired Infection?
Hospital-acquired infections — also called healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs — are infections that are not present or incubating at the time of the individual’s admission to a hospital.
Simply put, the individual who acquires the infection did not have it before they arrived at the medical facility.
What are the Most Common Causes of Hospital-Acquired Infections?
Bacteria, fungus, and viruses can cause hospital-acquired infections, with bacteria leading the way in causing approximately 90% of all cases in the U.S.
Some of the common bacteria, fungus, or viruses that are responsible for HAIs result from:
- Poor Use or Maintenance of Catheters or Ventilators
- Improper Sterilization or Disinfection Practices
- Contaminated Instruments, Objects, and Substances
- Contaminated HVAC Systems
- Patient/Healthcare Worker Contact
- Congested Hospitals
- Understaffing/Improper Staffing
- Reusing Syringes and/or Needles
Symptoms of HAIs will vary by type, although the most common types include:
- Bloodstream Infections
- Endometriosis and Other Reproductive Organ Infections, Commonly Following Childbirth
- Gastrointestinal Infections
- Genitourinary Infections
- Respiratory Infections
- Skin and Soft Tissue Infections
- Surgical Site Infections
- Urinary Tract Infections
How Often Do Hospital Acquired Infections Occur?
According to Healthline, 1.7 million people in the United States develop hospital-acquired infections each year.
Of those infections, 75% start in doctors’ offices and nursing homes.
Tragically, 99,000 people who suffer from hospital-acquired infections never recover and lose their lives to complications from the illnesses.
The economic burden of HAIs in the U.S. may be as high as $45 billion per year.
In one recent year, antibiotic-resistant MRSA infections killed more people in the U.S. than HIV/AIDS, emphysema, Parkinson’s disease, and homicide combined.
Who is Responsible for Preventing Hospital Acquired Infections?
Hospital-acquired infection prevention lies with the facility and healthcare staff that is responsible for the sterilization and disinfection of the premises and the contents within.
Contact Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys in St. Louis At The Gogel Law Firm
If you have contracted a hospital-acquired infection or lost a loved one while they were undergoing medical care or as a result of a medical procedure, contact our experienced medical malpractice attorneys in St. Louis, Missouri at the Gogel Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation by calling (314) 370-8173 or contact us online to have one of our skilled lawyers call you to discuss your case and pinpoint the liable party, so together we may pursue them for your full financial recovery.