Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

CDC: Hospital infections are less common, but not less fatal

Pennsylvania residents visit hospitals in order to get healthier, not to get sicker. Unfortunately, though, hospital-acquired infections are a real and serious problem in the United States that are responsible for killing thousands of people each year.

In fact, a new report that was recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine by health officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that infections claimed the lives of about 75,000 people in the year 2011.

However, the good news is that fewer Americans are suffering from hospital-acquired infections than was once thought, the report suggested.

According to the report, in 2011, roughly one out of every 25 hospital patients in the United States contracted an infection. Previous reports estimated the number to be more like one out of every 20 patients.

The report involved gathering data on more than 10,000 randomly-selected patients at 183 hospitals throughout the country. It determined that the number of Americans who have fallen ill because of hospital-acquired infections has likely declined over the past 10 years.

“There appears to be a trend toward improvement,” concluded the deputy director of the division of health care quality promotion at the CDC.

Although the deputy director said that the improvement is likely due in part to patient-safety efforts made by hospitals, he added that many people are now going to outpatient facilities like orthopedic surgery centers for procedures so that, too, has influenced the numbers.

When Pennsylvania residents or their loved ones fall victim to hospital-acquired infections or diseases, they might have the ability to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital that got them sick.

The damages obtained through medical malpractice lawsuits not only compensate medical malpractice victims for their losses, but also remind the hospitals that patient safety needs to be their No. 1 priority.

Source: New York Times, “Infections at Hospitals Are Falling, C.D.C. Says,” Sabrina Tavernise, March 26, 2014.

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