People go to the hospital or other inpatient medical facilities to improve their condition and recover from illnesses, not to acquire new diseases. Unfortunately, due to inadequate precautions by staff members or contaminated equipment and facilities, those who stay in a hospital could potentially contract serious infections.
For those who already have compromised immune systems or other health issues, an infection could lead to a poor outcome or even death. Depending on the circumstances that led to the infection, an individual exposed at a medical facility or their surviving family members may have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice claim against the facility where they contracted the infection.
How common is it for people to wind up infected during a hospital stay?
Given the proliferation of protective gear and the use of disposable gloves and gowns, you might assume that infections contracted at medical facilities are rare. However, research shows that they are quite common.
According to data provided directly by the federal government, approximately one in every 25 patients who require an inpatient stay at a medical facility will contract an infection as a result. In other words, 4% of the people who stay in the hospital will wind up sick because they stayed in the hospital. Some of the most virulent and aggressive infections, like MRSA, frequently stem from exposure in medical facilities.
Just because you contract an infection in the hospital doesn’t mean you have a good prognosis. Tens of thousands of people die because of these infections, and even those who survive will likely have increased medical costs and other financial losses, like missed wages.
Cleanliness should be a top priority in every hospital
Staff members can and should clean themselves and dispose of their gloves and other equipment when moving between patients, especially when one patient has an infectious disease. Failing to do so may constitute negligence and lead to allegations of medical malpractice.
Infections could increase the amount of time someone has to stay in the hospital or even cost their life. If your family has felt the negative consequences of a hospital-acquired infection, you may have to consider filing a claim to offset the costs and losses you’ve suffered because of that infection.