People go to the hospital because they are severely ill, require trauma care or need to undergo intensive medical procedures like surgery. Patients expect that the hospital will be a clean and safe space for them during their most vulnerable time.
Unfortunately, hospitals and medical facilities can be a major source of illness. Hospitals are known disease vectors, meaning that they are a means of transmitting viral and bacterial infections. Although you might think that hospital-acquired infections are rare, they occur much more frequently than you might think and can potentially complicate your recovery from a procedure or an illness.
How many people get sick while in the hospital?
There are many ways for someone living in the hospital to get exposed to dangerous pathogens. Staff members who don’t clean up and change between rooms could carry something in with them on their gowns, clothing or gloves. Patients crossing paths while walking in hallways could cough on one another. Even the foods and linens provided by the hospital could sometimes be a source of infection.
According to federal statistics on hospital-acquired infections, roughly one in 25 people in the hospital at any given time have an infection that they got in the hospital. In other words, 4% of people who go to the hospital get sick as a result. Some of those patients may have a longer stay or a worse outcome because of the infection they catch in the hospital. In some cases, people even die because of a hospital-acquired illness.
Hospital-acquired infections can be a sign of negligence
Health care professionals understand how dangerous an infection could be to a patient already in a compromised state. They have an obligation to do everything in their power to limit the exposure risks of the people under their care. When a staff member knowingly exposes people to illness or cuts corners with their sanitation and hygiene protocol, they put their patients at risk.
If you believe that improper protocol played a role in a hospital-acquired infection you or a loved one experienced, you may need to consider taking legal action against the facility to help offset your losses and prompt the facility into better practices.