Most people are aware that at some point in their lives, they may have to visit a hospital and doctor to determine what ails them. Additionally, many people visit their doctor for preventative care and to get vaccinated. Hospitals are supposed to be hygienic and clean. However, any Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer will agree that there are times when a patient may acquire a hospital infection that may not only lead to the spread of disease, but also may worsen a patient’s health condition.
Our Pennsylvania residents may find it interesting to learn that according to the Centers for Disease Control, even though infections rates in hospitals are down, over 200 patients each day still end up with hospital-acquired infections and die from them during their stay. In many cases, such deaths are preventable. Pennsylvania residents may find the following tips helpful to minimize and prevent hospital infections.
Patients should not be passive receivers of medical information that their health care provider gives them. Instead, it is important to speak up, ask questions about the procedure, medication, risks and understand why the doctor is doing what they are doing. Doctors have specialized and lengthy medical training, but this is no reason for patients to be clueless about the signs of an infection. If a patient or a family member of a patient notices redness or inflammation around an intravenous line, this fact should be brought to the doctor’s attention.
Furthermore, the easiest way to prevent the spread of disease is to wash not only one’s hands, but also encourage other to do so. Research shows that by taking these simple steps, healthcare providers can reduce infections by nearly 30%. Rather than ending up with an infection and a worsened condition, it is better to speak up and ask that doctors, visitors and nurses wash their hands.
Additionally, it is important for the patient and families to take time to understand the implications of taking antibiotics and their side-effects. In some case, antibiotics can lead to diarrhea and patients should understand when it can potentially become a serious life-threatening issue.
However, despite all the tips and precautions one takes, if a medical error occurs which worsens the condition of a loved one, it may be essential to contact a lawyer for more information to determine if the healthcare provider was negligent and to discuss legal options.
Source: Fox News, “Six simple ways to prevent hospital infections and save your life,” Tom Frieden, May 15, 2014