The physical, emotional and financial consequences of health care-associated infections are devastating, and unfortunately, patients throughout our health care system are exposed to these consequences.
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) July 28, 2011
One of Illinois’ leading patient’s rights advocates applauded a new public-private partnership that has set a goal of cutting preventable health care-associated infections by 40 percent by the year 2013.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is spearheading the partnership, 1 in 20 hospital patients at any given time suffer from a health care-associated infection, or HAI, at a combined annual cost of $28 billion to $33 billion in preventable expenditures.
“The physical, emotional and financial consequences of health care-associated infections are devastating, and unfortunately, patients throughout our health care system are exposed to these consequences,” said Patrick A. Salvi, the managing equity partner of the Chicago medical malpractice law firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., which has a record of recovering substantial verdicts and settlements on behalf of Illinois medical negligence victims.
“I applaud the HHS for launching an aggressive campaign that should educate health care workers about how these infections are spread and demonstrate the steps they can take to prevent these infections,” the Illinois lawyer said.
The HHS defines health care-associated infections as “infections that people acquire while they are receiving treatment for another condition in a health care setting,” which can include hospitals, outpatient clinics and long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. The leading causes of the infections are:
- Indwelling medical devices such as bloodstream, endotracheal and urinary catheters;
- Surgical procedures;
- Contamination of the healthcare environment;
- Transmission of communicable diseases between health care workers and patients;
- Overuse or improper use of antibiotics.
“In some cases, the infection can be acquired simply because a doctor, nurse or other hospital staff member failed to wash his or her hands,” Salvi said. “The patient may be discharged from the hospital and not realize until later that the health problems they are suffering are the direct result of being infected by bacteria, fungi or viruses that were spread to them.”
The HHS identifies urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, bloodstream infections and pneumonia as the primary types of HAIs that impact patients.
As part of its efforts to curb HAIs, the HHS has released a “Partnering to Heal” video training program that emphasizes teamwork, communication, hand washing, flu vaccination and the appropriate use of antibiotics and medical devices.
“Hospitals and health care professionals need to be held accountable when they fail to take these basic precautionary measures,” Salvi said, “and infected patients or the loved ones of patients who have died from hospital negligence need to seek legal counsel immediately to protect their right to be compensated for the harm they’ve suffered. Our civil justice system plays a vital role in making sure that patients receive safe treatment.”
About Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C.
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. is a leading Illinois medical malpractice law firm with offices in Chicago and Waukegan. The firm represents clients in matters involving emergency room errors, failure to diagnose, hospital negligence, physician error, birth injuries, surgical malpractice, anesthesia errors, organ puncture/perforation, post-operative and pre-operation malpractice and surgical complications. The firm’s success in medical negligence, personal injury and wrongful death cases includes recoveries of more than $585 million on behalf of its clients, including more than 160 multi-million dollar verdicts or settlements. To learn more about Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., call (847) 249-1227 or use the firm’s online form.