Hospital-acquired infections (HAI) are infections that patients contract while receiving treatment for another condition in a health care setting. They can be caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses or other pathogens and aren’t present at admission. These infections, which can appear after a patient has been discharged, are a significant concern for both health care providers and patients.
Understanding the gravity of such infections is essential, especially considering the complexities they introduce into a patient’s recovery process. These infections can complicate treatment plans, extend hospital stays and sometimes be life-threatening.
Understanding the common types of hospital-acquired infections
While numerous infections can be acquired in a health care setting, some of the most prevalent include methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), clostridium difficile (c. diff), pneumonia and urinary tract infections. Hospitals and medical facilities have strict infection control measures to minimize the spread of these pathogens.
Routine cleaning of surfaces, proper disposal of medical waste and rigorous hand hygiene protocols are among the steps taken. Patients and visitors can aid prevention by practicing good hand hygiene and following hospital guidelines.
The implications of acquiring an infection are far-reaching
Beyond the immediate health concerns, HAIs can result in extended hospital stays and escalated medical costs. If it’s determined the infection was preventable and was a consequence of oversight or negligence, there might be avenues for compensation for affected patients.
Taking swift action after being diagnosed with an HAI is critical. State law limits the amount of time victims have to file a claim, so it’s wise to get experienced legal guidance as soon as possible.