The reason people go into the hospital is to heal and recover, whether it is from surgery or because of an illness. The last thing that they expect when they go into the hospital is to get another infection, which stacks on even greater health issues, and in some cases even causes death. According to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 200 people in the United States will die each day from an infection they received while they were staying in the hospital. Shockingly, this is actually an improvement over previous years.
Prevalence of Hospital Infections
The government did a survey in 2011, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which covered 183 hospitals, and found that one out of every twenty-five patients received on one more infections while staying at the hospital. This amounted to more than 700,000 infections per year, and resulted in 75,000 deaths. This meant that nearly one out of every nine infected patients passed away because of the infections. Despite the fact that the number of patients getting infections in the hospital is starting to drop, it is still a very real problem. One of the biggest problems in hospitals is pneumonia.
Different Kinds of Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a lung infection, and it has the potential to make people very ill. For some, pneumonia is treatable at home, and it can take more than two weeks to run through the system. However, older individuals, those who are already ill, and babies can have a difficult time overcoming pneumonia. It is possible to get pneumonia through regular daily life. They call this community-associated pneumonia. It is also possible to get pneumonia while in the hospital or a nursing care facility. The term for this is healthcare associated pneumonia, and it can be far more dangerous since people who get it in a hospital setting are generally fighting another illness, are very young, or very old.
It is important for the doctor to diagnose and begin treating the pneumonia quickly, otherwise the infection will continue to worsen and take longer to heal. The doctor may order chest x-rays, check mucus for blood, and then put the patient on a regimen of antibiotics. In some instances, when the condition goes undiagnosed and untreated, it can result in death.
How Do the Infections Occur?
The infections can stem from many different things, including devices inserted into the body, such as breathing tubes and catheters. With catheters, there is always the possibility of a urinary tract infection. These two things will account for about twenty-five percent of the cases of infection. The greatest risk actually comes from surgical site infections, gastrointestinal illnesses, and pneumonia.
The infections, according to the CDC, generally set in within about six days after admission to the hospital. They also tend to move very rapidly through the body, so someone admitted for something they feel is relatively minor could suddenly be facing a life and death battle with pneumonia.
What Are the Symptoms of Pneumonia Infections?
Some of the signs of bacterial pneumonia include cough, fever, shaking, chest wall pain, tiredness and weakness, nausea and vomiting, and fast, shallow breathing. For nonbacterial pneumonia, the symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. There is also less mucus when coughing. Some of the signs and symptoms that can indicate an infection include red streaks, or general redness, on the skin near the wound, swelling, and body chills and fever.
Infection Lawsuits on the Rise
With so many people coming out of the hospital with serious infections, pneumonia, as well as deaths resulting from those infections, it is natural to see the number of lawsuits against many different types of healthcare facilities on the rise.
In Granite City, Il, Michael Wardein filed a suit on behalf of his father, Robert Wardein. The senior Wardein was living at Stearns Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. While there, he developed bedsores because he had limited mobility and was incontinent. This in turn caused pressure ulcers and sores on many parts of his body. He eventually had to go to St. Anthony’s Hospital, where they found he had developed a decubitus ulcer, as well as a urinary tract infection, sepsis secondary to pneumonia, an infected coccyx, which needed removal, and a number of other conditions. The Wardeins are seeking more than $350,000, plus attorney’s fees and other costs.
This is one example of many. Patients and the families of patients who have infections or develop pneumonia because of the lack of care or cleanliness in a hospital are filing lawsuits to receive compensation.