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Some hospitals struggle to stamp out serious infections

According to a recent analysis conducted by Kaiser Health News, Arizona is one of 13 states where at least a quarter of the hospitals showed a high infection rate for at least one type of infection tracked by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Altogether, the CDC monitors six different categories of infections that may spread in hospitals, including infections from bladder catheters, infections from antibiotic-resistant germs and infections from flexible tubes that deliver nutrients or medicines into veins.

Reportedly, one of the chief problems with hospitals nationwide is that there is a low degree of compliance with protocol and preventative measures among healthcare workers dealing with patients who have a contagious disease. Authorities say that hospitals tend to increase their stringency and safety measures when a highly publicized or novel strain of disease breaks out, but they are too lax when dealing with more well-known and low-key contagious diseases. A study released by a medical journal in 2011 shows infection rates drop when hospital personnel comply with recommendations.

Infections are a critical issue, authorities argue. Approximately 75,000 people die each year in the United States from hospital-acquired infections. In 2012, the federal government started a hospital-comparison website with regard to the infection rates. Reportedly, there is now a possibility that Medicare allotments could become linked to each hospital's infection rates.

The scope of this infection problem is highlighted by the Kaiser Health News analysis. Because many deaths due to hospital-acquired infections can be obviated with greater compliance to protective measures, people who lose a loved one to an infection may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, citing hospital negligence. In this way, bereaved families may hold noncompliant hospitals accountable. A medical malpractice attorney may provide such families with more germane and specific information.

Source: North Country Public Radio, "Hospitals Struggle To Beat Back Serious Infections", Jordan Rau, October 21, 2014

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