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Boston Medical Malpractice May Lead to Hospital Infections

A recent article in The New York Times talks about how hand-hygiene can be a challenge for some hospital workers. This is cause for concern, seeing as the number of incidents involving superbugs resistant to drugs is growing in number. While some bugs and infections can’t be prevented, there are those that can be stopped or avoided if only hospital staff had taken the necessary sanitation and precautionary measures. In Massachusetts, if you feel that the infection or affliction you contracted while at a hospital or another medical facility was caused by staff negligence, please contact our Boston medical malpractice law firm right away.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that infections acquired at hospitals cause almost 100,000 patient fatalities annually. Some causes of these infections that preventable, aside from poor hand-hygiene (The Times says that studies report that unless they are motivated/encouraged, hospitals workers clean their hands as little as 30% of the time that they engage with patients), include failure to sterilize the patient, not putting on the appropriate sterile gown, hat, mask, and gloves, failure to maintain a clean and sterile environment, failure to sterilize surgical instruments prior to use, not double gloving during surgery, not properly handling or disposing certain needles, laboratory waste, pathology, anatomy, and blood, and failure to recognize/treat signs of infection.

An infection can prove deadly for some patients, especially those that are very young, advanced in age, and/or have compromised immune systems. Unfortunately, ignorance, negligence, understaffing, exhaustion, inexperience, poor training, emergency situation pressures, and inadequate systems and procedures can cause doctors, nurses, and other staff to cut corners or skip key steps that might have prevented an infection and/or death. Hopefully, new federal rules that will cause hospitals to lose Medicare funds should patients contract preventable infections will provide some incentive for change, awareness, and action.

Common hospital-acquired infections:
• Wound infections • Urinary tract infections • Bloodstream infection
• Pneumonia • Staph infections
According to a Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology-conducted survey written about in a2010 Washington Post article, catheter-related bloodstream infections afflict about 80,000 patients annually. The CDC says this causes about 30,000 deaths.

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With Money at Risk, Hospitals Push Staff to Wash Hands, The New York Times, May 28, 2013

Hospital infection deaths caused by ignorance and neglect, survey finds, The Washington Post, July 13, 2010

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