Even in the best of times, American hospitals posed huge risks for patients and their loved ones. Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveals that a whopping one in 31 patients suffered an illness acquired in the hospital on any given day — before coronavirus took over. That rate has likely increased in recent weeks.
Unfortunately, in their desperation to obtain treatment, many patients fail to understand the hazards currently present within health care facilities. Below, we clarify the risk of nosocomial infection as it relates to COVID-19:
What Are Nosocomial Infections?
Often referred to as hospital-acquired or hospital-associated infections (HAI), nosocomial illnesses are transmitted within specific facilities. In most cases, the term references health care settings, although nosocomial transmission can take place in nursing homes and other residential care facilities. To qualify as an HAI, the condition cannot have been present until the patient received care in a medical setting.
How Coronavirus Spreads Within Medical Facilities
Much of the danger surrounding coronavirus stems from its ability to spread while infected individuals are asymptomatic. Hence, the value of social distancing. Unfortunately, this is not an option for health care workers and the patients they treat. From air droplets to infected surfaces, a variety of circumstances can prompt the spread of disease.
Official statistics are currently in short supply, but plenty of anecdotal evidence highlights the rise in COVID-19 cases attributable to medical facilities. For example, a patient is believed to have contracted the disease during a surgical visit to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center. Upon initial admission, he tested negative for the illness. He was later identified as COVID-19 positive — thankfully before he was sent to a nursing facility.
Many aspects of daily life have changed in recent weeks, but the need for strong legal support remains. Don’t hesitate to seek medical malpractice assistance from the trusted team at Regan Zambri Long PLLC.