Healthcare-associated infections, also known as hospital-acquired infections or simply HAIs, are a serious problem in the United States. Targeting those with the weakest immune systems, HAIs can cause devastating medical consequences, including death, for patients in health centers across the United States. But recent statistics bring to light some good news: the rate of HAIs in the U.S. is on the decline.
CDC Says HAIs Are Declining
A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, published in 2015, highlights the fact that there was a 46 percent decrease in the number of central line-associated bloodstream infections between 2008 and 2013. Further, the same time period saw a 19 percent decrease in surgical site infections; an eight percent fall in the number of MRSA infections (from 2011 to 2013); and a 10 percent fall in C. difficile infections (also from 2011 to 2013). In fact, according to the report, there was an increase in the prevalence of only one infection type: urinary tract infections, which rose six percent from 2009. 2014 data may suggest that the number too is starting to decline, according to an article published by CBS News.
The Key to HAI Prevention
The fact that HAIs are declining may be contributed to hospitals’ infection control programs. To be sure, clean spaces, tools, gloves, hands, etc. are all key parts to preventing HAIs from spreading amongst patients in a healthcare facility. The U.S. CDC has multiple resources on its website in regards to Preventing Healthcare-associated Infections.
While patients and their families certainly play a role in HAI prevention as well – i.e. family members insisting that a patient is bathed daily may help to prevent the spread of disease – hospital patients are often helpless against dangerous infections. When a patient does acquire an infection, the infection may quickly spread, leading to adverse results. If the infection would not have been contracted but for the negligence of a healthcare worker or healthcare facility, and if the patient suffers harm as a direct result, the patient may be able to file a medical malpractice claim for damages.
Proving Fault in a HAI Malpractice Claim
Proving fault and liability in a HAI malpractice claim can be much more difficult to do than is proving liability in other malpractice action types. This is because often times, how the infection was incurred is not fully understood. For example, did the nurse pass the infection to the patient because they failed to wash their hands? Was the infection caused because of unsterilized medical equipment? Did the patient contract the infection themselves by spending time with another infected person? All of these are key questions that must be answered.
Let a Medical Malpractice Professional Represent You
To help you answer all of the above questions and prove that harm would not have occurred but for malpractice, you need a skilled and experienced attorney on your side. At Lovenberg & Associates, P.C., Boston medical malpractice attorney Douglas Lovenberg will advocate for you. Call for your free case consultation today at 617-973-9950.