How common are infections at hospitals?

If it weren't so frightening and deadly, it would be laughably ironic: people go to the hospital to get better, but many end up contracting life-altering diseases there. It's a charge we've all heard leveled at the hospital system in the United States, but just how prevalent are the instances of infection and disease at American hospitals?

The New England Journal of Medicine has released the results of a survey that looked at health care-associated infection (HAI) in the year 2011. What they found was startling. Their estimates looked like this:

  • A whopping 157,500 cases of pneumonia at acute care hospitals.
  • Another 157,500 infections from inpatient surgeries.
  • Gastrointestinal illnesses came in at 123,100.
  • Urinary tract infections accounted for 93,300 cases.
  • Primary bloodstream infections made up another 71,900.
  • Other kinds of infections, including skin, respiratory, and ear, eye, nose and throat added up to another 118,500 cases.

All in all, that brings the estimated total to 721,800 patients infected during their stay at a hospital. Extrapolating this evidence leads to a more simple way to state it: on any day in the U.S., one in 25 inpatients in the hospital has contracted, at the minimum, one infection.

If you have suffered because of a case of hospital negligence, the attorneys at Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin LLP can sit down with you and listen to your case. If negligence can be proven, victims could be entitled to compensation. Our Medical Malpractice page contains more information about what we do.

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