Hospital Acquired Infections Increase in South Carolina
When sick, injured, or in need of a medical procedure, we often trust our local hospitals to provide the care we need. In most cases, we expect to remain in the hospital until any medical issues have been properly addressed and to leave feeling better than when we came in. Unfortunately, for increasing numbers of patients in South Carolina, this is not necessarily the case.
New studies indicate that the number of patients contracting dangerous infections in hospitals is rising, both throughout the country as well as here in South Carolina. These numbers continue to increase, despite efforts to prevent the types of medical errors and mistakes that cause these infections. In this article, we provide important information regarding the types of infections most commonly contracted in hospitals in South Carolina, as well as some tips on what you as a patient can do to help prevent them. We’ll also discuss your rights in the event that you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice in South Carolina.
Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs)
According to the latest reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs, are a significant threat to patients in hospitals throughout the United States. These types of infections can result from lapses in the quality of care patients received in hospitals and medical facilities, and can cause serious, even life-threatening harm. Types of HAIs include the following:
- Central line associated infections from intravenous medications and fluids
- Catheter associated infections of the urinary tract
- Surgical site infections
- Bloodstream infections, caused by exposure to bacteria
- Antibiotic resistant medications, due to overprescribed antibiotics
The CDC estimates that over 720,000 people suffer these types of infections each year, despite increased efforts by doctors and hospital staff. CDC statistics on HAIs in South Carolina indicate that while the number of central line infections and infections related to being over prescribed antibiotics have decreased to equal or fall slightly below those experienced in other hospitals throughout the country, all other types of HAIs are on the rise. Urinary tract infections caused by catheters that have not been inserted or maintained properly, surgical site infections caused by germ contamination, and bacterial infections due to unsanitary practices on the part of hospital staff have increased by as much as 10 percent, putting South Carolina well above the national average for these types of infections.
Protect Yourself Against HAIs and Medical Malpractice
As a patient, there are actions you can take to protect yourself against contracting a health care associated infection. The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) advises choosing health care providers carefully, while thoroughly checking out any medical treatment center or hospitals in your area. You can visit your local hospital’s website to find information on infection rates and read patient reviews and ratings. When you have been admitted to the hospital, the NPSF recommends taking the following precautions to help avoid HAIs or medical malpractice:
- Thoroughly wash and sanitize your hands often, and make sure all doctors, nurses, and technicians do the same every time they enter your room
- Monitor any surgical wounds or dressings that are applied, and make sure they are changed regularly
- If you have a catheter or an I.V., make sure your nurse checks and cleans it often
- When you are prescribed antibiotics or any other type of medication, inquire as to the dosage, the length of time you will be required to take it, and if the medication itself is medically necessary
Get Help From a South Carolina Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one has experienced significant health impacts as the result of an HAI, contact our South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys today. We can advise you on how to hold medical providers accountable for the injuries you have suffered, and assist you in getting the compensation you may deserve.