“HAI” Risk: The Dangers of Healthcare-Associated Infections

“HAI” Risk: The Dangers of Healthcare-Associated Infections

When we go to the hospital for surgery or other treatment, we expect to leave the hospital in better condition than we arrived. Unfortunately, hospitals can also be a breeding ground for infections and other complications that can lead to readmissions, additional treatment, or serious adverse health consequences.

The problem of “healthcare-associated infections” (HAI) is a large one. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 of every 25 hospitalized patients in the United States has an HAI at any given time. A CDC study of HAIs in 2011 concluded that about 722,000 hospital patients contracted an infection during their stay that year alone.  About 75,000 hospital patients with HAIs died during their hospitalizations that year, adding billions of dollars in costs to our health-care system.

According to the CDC study, the estimated number of hospital patients who acquired infections during their stay included patients who suffered the following kinds of infections:

  • Pneumonia:                                     157,500 patients
  • Gastrointestinal illness:             123,100 patients
  • Urinary tract infections:             93,300 patients
  • Primary bloodstream infections: 71,900 patients
  • Surgical site infections:             157,500 patients
  • Other types of infections:             118,500 patients

As the CDC notes, many if most hospital infections are preventable. As such, in 2009 the CDC issued its National Action Plan to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infections: Road Map to Elimination. The plan identified specific actions that hospitals and healthcare workers can and should take to reduce the risk of HAIs.

In 2013, the CDC conducted a state-by-state survey to see if and how the plan was working. The results for Texas showed significant reductions in HAIs compared to the national baseline, but still reflected a high number of infections.

If you suffered from an infection after surgery or a hospital stay and experienced adverse health consequences, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries. If the hospital, physicians, nurses, or other workers at the hospital failed to follow proper procedures to prevent infections or otherwise were negligent in their care, they may be held liable for such failures.

Attorney Robert Greening at Greening Law, P.C. in Dallas has extensive experience and a track record of success representing those who have suffered as a result of medical malpractice or other acts of negligence by health-care professionals. If you acquired an infection shortly after a hospital stay or surgery, please give us a call at (972) 934-8900 or fill out our online form to arrange for your free initial consultation.