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Prevention of California HAIs is essential

Hospitals are intended to be places where the sick go to get well, places where healing occurs. Unfortunately, however, patients do not always get better after treatment at San Diego area hospitals and that is not always due to a patient's particular illness. Sometimes a person's worsened condition is due to contraction of a healthcare-associated infection. There are many ways a patient might receive a healthcare-associated infection, or HAI, but it may arise due to poor care that could constitute medical malpractice.

An HAI is a preventable infection that affects up to ten percent of patients hospitalized nationwide annually. This means that an estimated 1.7 million HAIs are contracted in hospitals across the country, and they lead to approximately 99,000 deaths. These statistics are astonishing, as the infections leading to these deaths should not only be preventable, but were contracted in places - hospitals - that are intended to be healthy and safe environments.

HAIs take on many forms, but one type that occurs in intensive care units is a catheter-associated bloodstream infection. The CDC is trying to work with other agencies to prevent infections such as this by implementing intervention strategies and promoting specific recommendations regarding infection control. Over the course of the CDC's four year partnership with participating hospitals in Pennsylvania, the hospitals reduced their rates of infection in ICU patients substantially. The success of this program led to six programs in California aimed at preventing bloodstream and other device-associated infections.

Programs such as these that the CDC is implementing are helping to improve healthcare and reduce infection, but, unfortunately, the reach of these programs is still minimal. If a person believes that they have contracted an HAI following potential hospital negligence, they may want to file a lawsuit to recover costs for medical expenses incurred.

Source: CDC, "Preventing Healthcare-Associated Infections", accessed June 26, 2015

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