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Nearly One-Third of New Jersey’s Hospitals Penalized for Infections

Written by Berkowitz

hospital bedAccording to a recent NJ.com article, nearly one-third of New Jersey hospitals are being docked by one percent of their Medicare payments, due to poor performance in preventing hospital-acquired infections and medical errors. Penalized hospitals will save taxpayers money, but this wasn’t the original goal. The purpose of penalizing these hospitals is to encourage them and others to increase their protections and work harder toward preventing hospital-acquired infections (HAIs).

Each hospital in the United States is graded based on its record for preventing:

  • Bedsores,
  • Postoperative hip fractures,
  • Postoperative sepsis,
  • Central catheter infections,
  • Accidental punctures, and
  • Lacerations.

What is an HAI?

Hospital-acquired infections (or HAIs) can lead to injury or death. They are responsible for an estimated 1.7 million infections and an estimated 100,000 deaths per year. The most common types of these infections include:

  • Staph infections,
  • Pneumonia,
  • Bloodstream infections (sepsis),
  • Surgical site infections, and
  • Urinary tract infections.

HAIs can be caused by fungi, bacteria, and viruses. These occur in patients that are typically immune-compromised, but can also infect those in perfect health. According to the CDC, one out of every 20 patients will develop an infection after hospitalization.

Hospital infections do not just cause additional pain and suffering. They can also be financially devastating by adding thousands to a patient’s original care costs. Also, the increase of antibiotic-resistant infections is cause for concern; these infections are increasing the number of patients who die each year after acquiring an HAI.

How Can an Attorney Help with an HAI?

If you or a loved one has developed an HAI within two weeks of leaving a hospital or while staying in the hospital, you may have a claim against that facility. You will need to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your case. If the infection came from the hospital, you may be entitled to compensation for things like:

  1. Pain and suffering,
  2. Additional medical costs,
  3. Lost wages,
  4. Wrongful death, or
  5. Rehabilitation.

Not all infections are HAIs. Instead, the infection must have manifested from the hospital and you must prove that the hospital’s inability to protect you or properly sanitize equipment led to the infection itself.

Most HAIs happen, due to:

  • Inability to wash hands;
  • Improper sanitization between patients;
  • Contaminated surgical equipment;
  • A physician or medical care professional transmitting the disease;
  • Bacteria present on medical equipment; and
  • Catheters that are left in place for too long.

Speak with an Attorney Today

If you feel you or a loved one are the victim of an HAI, speak with a malpractice attorney now. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call us or contact us online to get started.