Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) in hospital settings are becoming increasingly common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in 31 hospital patients have an HAI.
Certain risk factors are associated with HAIs. Patients who undergo invasive procedures are at risk of contracting an HAI. Patients with a severe illness are at risk of contracting an HAI. Physicians who do not adhere to best safety and prevention practices risk transmitting HAIs. Finally, misuse of antibiotics can lead to HAIs.
It is up to doctors to prevent HAIs
Much can be said of a patient’s duty to advocate for themselves. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with speaking up when you do not understand medical treatment being offered, the details of your condition or believe you are receiving substandard care.
Still, the burden should not be on patients to keep themselves safe in the hospital. It is up to physicians to ensure they follow sanitary and safe practices when treating patients. It is up to hospitals to ensure their facilities are clean and maintained. Physicians know what antibiotics to give, in what doses and when. Patients should not be burdened with these responsibilities.
Patients trust that their stay in the hospital will not lead to a worsened condition. A HAI will certainly lead to a worsened condition. It can cause sepsis or even death.
Patients who acquire HAIs while receiving hospital care might be able to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit if it can be shown that the physician or facility deviated from the standards of practice that a reasonable physician or facility would exercise in a similar situation.