Latest CDC report says patients should be wary of hospital stays

When Maryland patients leave a hospital after surgery or other medical treatment, they want to know whether they are healthy and whether they will need to return for treatment.

Unfortunately, two recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that many patients now leave hospitals with a lot more than knowledge about their conditions: they also leave with hospital-acquired infections.

The first report was based on a 2011 survey conducted in hospitals in 10 states. The second report comes from an annual progress assessment of hospital-obtained infections. The results of both reports were disturbing.

In 2011, more than 700,000 patients acquired infections. The CDC's director claims that progress is being made in national efforts to reduce infections, but everyday some 200 Americans lose their lives because of these hospital-acquired illnesses.

The culprits seem to be improper hand washing, improperly disinfected hospital equipment and overuse of antibiotics.

One CDC physician advises patients not to take seemingly simple infections lightly. They can develop into serious life-threatening infections quickly. The dangers can be reduced through the use of enhanced hospital procedures such as improving sterile conditions and establishing clear safety guidelines that all personnel follow. Patients also have a part to play by constantly reminding medical practitioners to wash their hands.

Acquiring an infection or being subjected to misdiagnosis and other negligence-based medical errors can severely endanger the health of a patient, especially one who is already battling an illness or has a compromised immune system.

Patients who suffer from a medical practitioner's mistakes often need corrective treatment, and some do not survive. A patient victimized by such a mistake can file a medical malpractice lawsuit to hold the negligent party accountable. The suit may also bring compensation that can be used for corrective treatment and damage-related expenses.

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