The hospital may be our go-to destination for treating severe illnesses or injuries, but it can sometimes be the source of severe conditions. Alarming data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that, in 2015, three percent of patients developed healthcare-associated infections. In that year, a tragic 72,000 patients with hospital-acquired infections died during their hospitalizations. Thankfully, while these infections are alarmingly common, they can often be avoided by adhering strictly to the following precautions:
Select Hospitals and Doctors Carefully
Rates of hospital-acquired infection vary dramatically from one facility to the next. The potential for infection can also differ significantly between doctors. With a little digging into ratings, reviews, and statistics, you can get a better sense of which facilities and professionals are most prone to such issues. This will help you plan not only for scheduled visits, but also emergency situations in which a split-second decision can make all the difference.
Beyond facility selection, your best bet for preventing infection may involve the simple act of washing your hands. This is critical after touching all types of surfaces—even those that don’t seem suspect. Don’t hesitate to make use of antiseptic wipes or sprays. Insist that all medical professionals and visitors with whom you come into contact do the same.
Speaking of visitors: while their emotional support can prove helpful, they also hold the potential to introduce deadly germs into an otherwise safe environment. When in doubt, limit visitor access. Hospital staff members will happily help you enforce any restrictions you desire. Remember: visiting with hospital-bound patients is a privilege, not a right.
Did you or a loved one suffer a hospital-acquired infection due to medical negligence? Look to Regan Zambri Long PLLC for powerful advocacy through every step of your medical malpractice case.