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The facts behind hospital-acquired infections

Many of the people from Providence we speak with here at DeLuca & Weizenbaum, Ltd. fear the prospect of an extended hospital stay. Yet when the body needs time to recover, a hospital can be the ideal place to begin such a recovery. That’s not to say, however, that staying in a hospital is without any risks.

Given the many ailments that people are treated for in hospitals, these environments are ideally suited to become breeding grounds for infectious pathogens. Combine that with the presence of patients with already-compromised immune systems, and it’s easy to see why hospital-acquired infections are a major concern in both the healthcare and legal communities. 

Data shared by the health information site Healthline.com shows that 9.2 of every 100 hospital patients end up acquiring a nosocomial (hospital-acquired) or post-surgical infection. These infections can be spread through interactions between patients, or through exposure to some of the bacteria and/or parasites that are unique to the hospital environment. They can also be transmitted through the use if unsterilized treatment tools or as a result of any poor hygienic practices of the hospital and/or the clinical staff.

While most nosocomial infections can be treated successfully, some can prove to be fatal. Early diagnosis is essential in limiting the damage such an infection can do. Thus, one should pay close attention to any signs or symptoms that he or she may develop up to 3 days after being discharged to within 30 days following an operation. These can include:

  • Fever  
  • Inflammation
  • Discharge
  • Abscesses

While these symptoms are among the most common, one’s individual symptoms may differ due to the type of pathogen involved. One should contact a doctor immediately after the first display symptoms.

For more information on hospital-acquired infections, please visit our Surgical Errors page. 

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Providence Personal Injury Office

199 North Main Street
Providence, RI 02903

Toll Free: 888-876-9415
Phone: 401-354-7233
Fax: 401-453-1501
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