The term “superbugs” sounds like something out of a horror movie, but in fact superbugs are very real. Superbugs are antibiotic resistant infections that are tough to kill. The most famous and well-known superbug is called MRSA, which stands for methicillin-resistant staph infection. However, there are also other superbugs and they may be in a hospital near you.
Our West Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyers know that thousands of patients are killed or made ill each year as a result of the presence of hospital infections. Unfortunately, hospitals may not have financial incentive to do anything about this problem. This is why it is so important to take legal action for malpractice if you or a loved one gets an infection because a hospital fails to provide reasonable care.
Superbugs Present a Danger To Patients
The risk of developing an infection in a hospital is a very real one for patients. In fact, a recent USA Today article indicated that one out of every 20 patients who goes to a hospital will develop an infection. Of the patients who develop infections, around 100,000 will die each year.
Hospital Infection.org suggests that these deaths are just the tip of the iceberg, as another 2 million people each year come down with infections that cause sickness but not death.
While there are a wide variety of infections that can develop in a hospital, some of the superbugs causing concerns in recent months include:
- Clostridium difficle (C-diff). This infection caused an estimated 14,000 deaths in hospitals in the United States just last year.
- A “nightmare” bacteria that has been found in more than 200 U.S. hospitals in recent months.
The germs that cause these and other infections may be found all over hospitals. No longer are concerns about infection restricted to dirty surgical instruments and unsanitary operating rooms. A contaminated television remote or a dirty bed rail can spread germs.
Are Hospitals Doing Enough?
With thousands dying and millions injured each year, the danger of developing an infection in a hospital could realistically be called a serious public health concern. Yet, the question is: what are hospitals doing to fix the problem?
USA Today reports health facilities are experimenting with some new technologies. Germ resistant copper bedrails and special machines that emit UV light, for example, are just a few of the technologies that hospitals are reportedly embracing in their “germ fighting” efforts.
Yet, embracing new technologies is not nearly enough and hospitals need to act swiftly and decisively to set and adopt policies that could cut the number of infections dramatically. Unfortunately, hospitals aren’t really doing this and there is a good reason why: the status quo is quite profitable.
Hospitals make an estimated $15,275 when a patient is infected and needs treatment. With millions of infections, this means around $30.5 billion in hospital profits each year result from infections.
Unless medical malpractice claims make it really costly for hospitals to allow infections to develop on their watch, hospitals have strong financial incentive to not really do quite as much as they should to make the environment safer for patients.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by medical malpractice, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-561-7777.
Local judge wins Palm Beach medical malpractice claim against Good Samaritan Medical Center, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog September 19, 2010.