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Hospital-acquired infections

Many Pittsburgh patients will need to be hospitalized at least once in their lives. A hospital stay usually means there is a serious medical condition that needs to be monitored. Most hospital stays result in the patient getting better but occasionally errors occur -- like the patient acquiring a serious infection.

When a patient is admitted to the hospital for treatment they often need around-the-clock care. A major unexpected condition that arises in many patients is an unexpected infection. One out of every 20 patients gets a hospital infection during their stay. These infections often means a patient needs to extend their hospital stay and it can even lead to death.

There are three main kinds of hospital acquired infections. The first is catheter-related blood stream infections. This occurs when bacteria enters a central line and into the blood stream. It typically occurs in critical care areas of the hospital. The second kind of infection is hospital-acquired pneumonia. This is an infection of the lungs that occurs after 48 hours of being admitted. This infection can be quite serious because hospital patients are already pretty sick. It often requires patients to have to go on a respirator or even a breathing tube. The final type of common hospital infection is a surgical site infection. The infection usually involves the skin where the surgery took place but occasionally can also involve organs or implants such as knees or hips.

When a patient unexpectedly suffers from a hospital infection they can have serious side effects. When a medical professional is negligent in their care and an infection occurs a patient may want to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.

Source: npsf.org, "Health care-acquired infections," accessed on Feb. 1, 2016

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