If you or a loved one has required a stay in the hospital for any amount of time, you likely realize the hardship it ensues. Harsh lighting, incessant beeping, and a mess of tubes make it less of the safe-haven you may have imagined. But besides its inherent discomfort, a hospital is ironically bad at promoting one’s good health. That’s because these facilities house very sick patients, making the spread of infection practically inevitable. So, while you or an aging parent might need the capabilities of a hospital, it is important to understand the health risks involved. In this article, we’ll discuss two very prevalent and dangerous ailments related to one’s hospital stay: infections from the hospital and sepsis.
What are infections from the hospital?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on any given day, 1-in 25-hospital patients have at least one infection associated with healthcare. And in 2011, of the almost 800,000 hospitals acquired infections in acute care hospitals, approximately 75,000 patients died during their hospitalizations.
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is caused by your body’s response to an infection when chemicals in your immune system are released into your bloodstream. Though one’s immune system is intended to fight the infection at hand, sepsis is the result of it having overreacted. In this case, the immune system can essentially poison the blood and cause inflammation. While mild cases of sepsis have a high recovery rate, severe instances can lead to septic shock, which is a medical emergency.
Symptoms of sepsis include:
- a fever exceeding 101ºF or below 96.8ºF,
- a heart rate higher than 90 beats per minute,
- a breathing rate higher than 20 breaths per minute,
- and probable or confirmed infection.
Staying vigilant with infection and sepsis:
Ask yourself, in the case that you or a loved one faced infection while in the hospital, this question: While you were in the healthcare facility, did you notice safe hygienic and sanitation practices such as management of waste, washing hands, wearing gloves, and disposing of needles/soiled materials properly? The most vital factors are the hospital’s environment, cleanliness, and the practices of the staff.
- And if you question the quality of your care, evaluate these risks of infection as they pertain to your experience.
- A poor state of health is a risk factor because of an impaired immune defense system in the patient.
- Surgeries, as well as devices that enter the body, increase the risk of contracting HAI because they breach the body’s skin defense.
- Certain treatments can suppress the immune system.
- Blood transfusions can also increase risk as infections can enter the bloodstream via needles.
- Age is also a factor and can be a risk.
- Essentially any patient is in danger of getting an infection from the hospital, but being vigilant, aware of your environment, and conscious those attending you may help.
All patients deserve safe, competent, professional, and reliable care while seeking treatment in a healthcare facility. And so, one must be able to trust that the hospital’s staff is dedicated to their successful recovery or that of their loved ones.
The more you know, the more you can equip yourself and be as safe as possible.
There is always a risk associated with the treatment of an illness or injury, but infection is one of the most easily prevented dangers. If you or a loved one have become increasingly sick during a hospital stay and are victims of infections from the hospital or sepsis, do not hesitate to reach out to us at Raynes | Erickson. Our team is proud to serve the Inland Empire and is prepared to provide you and your loved one’s expert legal counsel and advocacy in this challenging time.