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Tracking Hospital Infections - Knowledge is Power

Could Your Next Hospital Visit Kill You? The Information You Need To Know...

It isn't only what gets you to the hospital that can kill you. According to the latest statistics compiled by the Center for Disease Control, 1 out of every 20 hospitalized patients will contract a healthcare associated infection (HAI) during their hospital stay. This means that each year roughly 1.7 million people in America will acquire an infection while in the hospital that they didn't have when they arrived. Of those 1.7 million people, about 100,000 of them will die as a result of their healthcare associated infection.

In order for Georgia's citizens to protect themselves from hospitals with particularly high rates of infection, it is important for residents to have access to Georgia hospital infection statistics. Unfortunately, unlike 28 other states that mandate such information be kept and made publicly available, Georgia hospitals are not required to reveal these statistics and generally choose not to. While legislation has been introduced that would make reporting on healthcare associated infections mandatory, that legislation has yet to pass. Meanwhile, Georgia citizens remain unable to access the information they need to protect themselves.

To put into perspective the dangers that you and your family face right here in the state of Georgia, let's take a look at some recent numbers out of Emory Hospital in Atlanta. A "central-line" infection is an infection arising from an IV that can be deadly. Most hospitals across the country report less than 4 of these types of infections each year. Emory had a whopping 36 of these infections last year. That number means that of the more than 3,000 hospitals across America, Emory had more "central-line" infections than all but 3 of those hospitals.

With numbers as staggering and as frightening as these so close to home, it is important to know what steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. First, don't be afraid to ask your medical facility what their infection rates are or how their rates compare to other local and national hospitals. After all it is information you need in order to make informed decisions about your healthcare. Second, take care to recognize and place added emphasis on these statistics if you or your family members are particularly susceptible to infection. While any hospital patient can contract a healthcare associated infection, some individuals, such as the young and the elderly, are certainly more vulnerable than others. Finally, be an advocate for yourself. If you see practices or actions taken by hospital staff that concern you, tell someone about it. It is natural to trust our caregivers and medical professionals when we are sick and vulnerable, but until legislation requires infection statistics be made accessible to the public, acting as a zealot advocate for yourself and your family is your best defense against these silent invisible killers.

If you or a family member has contracted a healthcare associated infection, you may be entitled to recover for the expenses and suffering associated with that infection. Please click the link below to find out if you have a claim today.

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