Are hospital-acquired infections a serious issue?

Hospital-acquired infections are those that occur when a person is in the hospital. Learn how big this problem is and if you are at risk.

When a person checks into a hospital in Washington DC, he or she expects to get the proper care needed to get healthy. Nobody in this situation ever expects to get sicker, but that is what happens when a person gets a hospital-acquired infection. It can be a very frustrating situation because a person trusts the hospital staff will give them the best care and ensure they are not exposed to something that could get them sick, but it happens.

HAI defined

An HAI is an infection that a person gets while in the hospital that was not present when he or she was admitted to the hospital and could not have been present based upon known incubation periods, according to Medscape. Typically, they are classified as infections that occur after the patient has been in the hospital for 48 hours. However, they may even occur after the person has been discharged, but it can be proven the infection was acquired in the hospital setting.

They often occur due to cross-contamination. Sometimes equipment is not cleaned properly, leading to the infection remaining on the equipment. Introduction of bacteria to sterile environments also can contribute to HAIs. Infections may also be transferred during a blood transfusion.

Preventing HAIs

Preventing HAIs requires diligence on the part of medical staff. Through managing patients better and ensuring a clean and sterile environment, staff can better reduce infections being transferred to patients. Most facilities practice infection control through special programs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes being aware of present infections is also important. It allows staff to better control the situation and prevent anyone else from becoming infected.

Statistics about HAIs

There has been a decline in HAIs in some areas, such as central line-associated bloodstream infections, surgical site infections and for C. difficile and MRSA infections. Still, one in every 25 patients gets an HAI each day.

In Washington D.C. facilities, HAIs are down in all areas compared to national averages with some major differences in CLABSIs and C. difficile infections at 40 percent and 11 percent lower, respectively. The state works to prevent issues and improve the problem through mandatory reporting of an HAIs.

When staying in a hospital, the last thing you need is to get sicker or acquire a new infection. If you have suffered from an HAIs, you may want to seek assistance from an attorney, such as Fay Law Group, P.A.