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Patients should learn about health care-aquired infections

When Boston, Massachusetts, residents go into hospitals, they hope that they will emerge healthier than when they went in. However, in cases of hospital negligence, people often emerge from hospitals in worse condition than when they went in. Those cases include patients getting infections while in the hospital. For that reason, everyone should be knowledgeable about health care-acquired infections, also known as HAIs.

HAIs are appallingly common and are a profound threat to patients throughout the country. Nationwide, tens of thousands of people die because of these infections. Over a million people get the infections each year, a situation that incurs costs of billions of dollars.

Unfortunately, your doctor might not tell you the facts that you need to know about HAIs when you are first admitted to the hospital. One of those facts is that pneumonia is the most common infection, which is followed by other commonly contracted infections like gastrointestinal illness, primary bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections.

Additional facts that you should know is that an infection you contract in the hospital may be resistant to antibiotics. That can result in a scary situation if you contract a very serious infection.

For example, you may get Clostridium difficile, which can cause life-threatening effects, or Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA, which caused over 80,000 infections and approximately 11,000 deaths in one year alone. If you are a carrier of MRSA but go into surgery without having it treated, it may become a full-blown infection after surgery.

Surgery is not the only way that you can get an HAI while in the hospital. You can also get it from things like catheters. Bacteria and other germs can get into a patient's bloodstream through the catheter. The incidence of transference of infections via catheters can be reduced if medical personnel follow standard medical procedures such as cleaning their hands and the rest of the body where the catheter will be inserted. Still, if a patient does contract an infection due to hospital negligence, he or she may want to pursue legal options.

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