Britton Law, P.A.
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North Carolina patients have access to hospital infections report

When Fayetteville residents are hospitalized for injuries or illnesses, they trust that they are in good hands. Hospitals are supposed to be safe places for patients, especially since doctors and nurses are treating and monitoring hundreds of vulnerable patients. Failing to adhere to hospital practices and deviating from the standard of care in any way could put vulnerable patients at risk of suffering further health complications, or even fatal injuries.

When hospitals and medical professionals are negligent, patients could suffer a variety of health problems, but a common consequence of hospital and medical negligence is a hospital-acquired infection. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.7 million Americans suffer from hospital-acquired infections each year. Of the number of patients who do contract infections while in the hospital, about 100,000 die each year from complications from infections.

Infections happen even when patients receive top-notch care, but many infections can be prevented. In an effort to encourage hospitals to address this concerning patient-safety issue, hospitals in North Carolina are required to report all incidents of hospital-acquired infections. Last week, the state's first report on the occurrence of such incidents was released.

In 2011, a new law was passed that requires all hospitals in North Carolina to report the number of occurrences of hospital-acquired infections each year so that patients can be more aware of this safety issue. The first report on hospital-acquired infections was published last week. Anyone can access the report now in order to see how hospitals in the state rank compared to each other and to also use the report as a resource for choosing a hospital to visit when patients need medical care.

Most infections are treatable when infections are properly diagnosed, but vulnerable patients usually can't afford to suffer additional health problems when they are recovering from other health complications. For this reason, it is extremely important that hospitals continue to work toward implementing policies and procedures that can better prevent patients from contracting infections while in the hospital. Even simple actions like washing hands can prevent numerous patients from contracting infections.

Source: Charlotte Observer, "North Carolina releases first public report on hospital-acquired infections," Karen Garloch, Jan. 26, 2013

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