Approximately 200 people die each day in the United States from infections they received during hospital stays, according to the results of a recently released survey.
The New England Journal of Medicine conducted the survey, which included a 2011 review of 183 hospitals in 10 states. In just that one year, according to the findings, 648,000 hospital patients suffered some 721,800 “health-care associated” infections, meaning the infections were a direct result of the actions on inactions taken by their healthcare providers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has previously estimated that 1.7 million hospital patients each year in the entire United States – or about one out of every 25 – acquire an infection during their stay.
The researchers of this latest survey estimated that the health-care associated infections caused about 75,000 patient deaths, or around 200 per day.
Common Hospital Stay Infections
The most common infections the patients in the survey suffered were:
- Pneumonia (21.8 percent of the patients)
- Infection of surgical site (21.8 percent)
- Gastrointestinal infection (17.1 percent)
- Urinary tract infection (13 percent)
- Bloodstream infection (10 percent)
One quarter of all the hospital patient infections came from medical devices, such as catheters and ventilators, which perhaps weren’t properly cleaned or inserted. Other factors accounting for the fatal hospital infections could include providers not following such basic steps as adequately washing their hands and other safe hygiene practices.
Common Germs Causing Hospital Stay Infections
The most common type of patient infection found in the survey was a bacterial infection known as Clostridium difficile, also known as C. difficile. Symptoms of this catastrophic infection include severe nausea, cramping and diarrhea. E. coli was also among the most common germs found to have caused health-care associated infections in the hospital patients studied.
While fatal infections can inflict the ultimate cost in terms of human life, they do also pose a significant financial burden. A survey released in 2012 by JAMA Internal Medicine calculated that infections patients suffered during their treatment cost an additional $9.8 billion a year, with surgical site infections typically increasing a patient’s bill by almost $21,000.
Healthcare providers and facilities do make mistakes. Unfortunately, these mistakes can lead to the deaths of the very people they are trying to help. If you believe a loved one has been a victim of catastrophic medical malpractice, you may want to consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney, who can identify those responsible and pursue appropriate compensation for your loss.