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What is a hospital-acquired infection?

We all go to the hospital for a wide variety of reasons, but individuals in West Virginia and elsewhere all go to the hospital with the intention to get better. Unfortunately, we cannot always control our health and what illnesses might plague us. However, one does not expect to become ill because they decided to go to the hospital. When a hospital is negligent or medical professionals fail to uphold their duty of care, a patient could develop an infection stemming from their stay at the hospital.

What is a hospital-acquired infection? Also known as a nosocomial infection, this is an infection contracted because an infection or a toxin existed in the hospital. One of the most common areas where a hospital-acquired infection occurs is in the intensive care unit. This is a ward of the hospital where medical professionals treat serious diseases.

According to current statistics, one in 10 people admitted to a hospital will contract a hospital-acquired infection. Based on current research, as medical care becomes more complex and people become more antibiotic resistant, hospital acquired infections continue to increase.

In order for an individual to contract a hospital-acquired illness, the infection must have occurred up to 48 hours after their admission the hospital, up to three days after discharge, up to 30 days after an operation or in a healthcare facility where one is admitted for reasons other than an infection.

The symptoms of a hospital-acquired infection can vary by type, but there are common types of hospital-acquired infections that individuals are likely to suffer from. This includes urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, gastroenteritis, meningitis and pneumonia. Common symptoms of these types include discharge from a wound, fever, cough, shortness of breath, burning with urination, difficulty urinating, headache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

If you have contracted a hospital-acquired infection, it is important to understand how this occurred and who is liable. A medical malpractice suit could help a patient hold a hospital or medical professional accountable while also helping with the recovery of compensation for losses and damages.

Source: Healthline.com, "What Are Nosocomial Infections?," Graham Rogers, Oct. 24, 2016

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