Hospital-acquired infections are one of the largest problems facing Chicago’s hospitals at any given time. Patients contract these infections, largely due to hospital negligence, while they are in the hospital being treated for an unrelated illness. Despite continual efforts by hospitals at prevention, the problem continues to persist year after year.
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Study on prevalence
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed a large sample of U.S. acute care hospitals to determine an estimate for the number of HAIs that occur each year. They found that HAIs occur in 1 in 25 patients each day. Researchers estimate that in 2011 alone, over 722,000 HAIs occurred in these U.S. hospitals. Roughly 75,000 of these infections, either alone or in conjunction with other illnesses, were fatal. Improper hand sanitation practices, improper use of medical equipment, and other medical staff errors are all responsible for this inexcusably high number of fatalities and injuries.
Researchers were also able to use the study to provide estimates on the number of some of the most common HAIs. Pneumonia, which is often associated with ventilator use, and surgical site infections were both individually estimated to occur 157,000 times a year. Urinary catheters were believed to have contributed to an estimated 93,300 instances of urinary tract infections. Primary bloodstream infections, a potentially deadly condition also known as sepsis, were estimated to have effected 71,900 patients. An estimated 123,100 instances of gastrointestinal illness were found, and another 118,500 were attributed to other types of infections.
The CDC report also indicates how individual state hospitals are faring when it comes to HAIs relative to the national average. In Illinois, central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections and surgical site infections for some abdominal surgeries were comparable to the national levels. However, as many as 13 percent of hospitals in the state had lower averages than found nationally.
Incredible costs of HAIs
The infections patients acquire while receiving treatment at U.S. hospitals come with an increased price tag. According to U.S. News Health, the overall cost for these infections reaches almost $10 billion each year. Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health found that the individual price tag for each infection ranges from $900 for urinary tract infections to $45,000 for central line-associated bloodstream infections.
The financial costs associated with HAIs have the potential to devastate families for years. Those who have endure an HAI may be able to successfully seek compensation, including pain and suffering, for all they had to endure. Patients should contact an Illinois medical malpractice attorney to discuss their claim.