The CDC estimates that every day, 1 out of every 31 US hospital patients contract an HAI, a shocking number considering hospitals’ primary purpose of healing people. HAIs can be caused by improper preparation for surgery, failure to sanitize rooms and equipment, and improper antibiotic courses creating antibiotic-resistant bugs. These infections can be life-threatening, which is why hospitals take cases seriously, but sometimes not seriously enough, leading to cases of medical malpractice and negligence.
Goshen Hospital, Indiana
Goshen Hospital in Indiana recently released a report saying that over a thousand patients may have been exposed to HPV, hepatitis C, and hepatitis B due to a failure to properly sanitize surgical equipment. The hospital maintains that the risk was low for the patients that may have been affected and is providing free screenings for all those who have been marked as a potential risk.
Seattle Children’s Hospital, Washington State
More recently, and more deadly, the Seattle Children’s Hospital has come under fire after multiple patients died due to mold in the building. Patients were said to be exposed to mold during surgeries, as well as simply in the ward. The hospital shut the ward down multiple times in an attempt to handle the problem over the past decade but failed to fully fix the problem.
The ward is closed again, with the goal being to replace the air filtration system.
Higher Risks Among the Already Sick
Infections are dangerous for everyone but pose a particular risk to those who are already undergoing treatment. An already sick patient often doesn’t have the same level of immune-system strength as a healthy person, and infection symptoms can match those of their existing illness. This can make misdiagnosing an infection even easier for medical professionals.
While there is always some risk of infection, risks can be reduced. The current level of HAIs in America begs a question about our healthcare system, and what happens if we can’t trust it to keep us healthy.