INFECTIONS AND HOSPITALS: LIKE PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY

Maybe my attempt to be funny with the title of this post is misplaced. The point I am trying to communicate is that, from our experience, hospitals do a damn poor job of preventing their patients from contracting infections while hospitalized (called hospital-acquired infections). We see it all the time. Patients who are admitted for elective surgery end up with MRSA or E coli infections which, at a minimum, lengthen the stay in the hospital and, at worst, may kill the patient. Now we have confirmation of what our own clients tell us.

The Health and Human Services Department’s 2009 quality report to Congress found “very little progress’’ on eliminating hospital-acquired infections and called for “urgent attention’’ to address the shortcomings. According to the report:

■ Bloodstream infections following surgery rose 8 percent.

■ Urinary tract infections from catheter use following surgery increased by 3.6 percent.

■Rates of pneumonia following surgery fell by 12 percent.

My Take: Lets stop paying hospitals when a patient contracts an infection while hospitalized…no payments from Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance or the patient. I bet this type of policy would result in a decrease in hospital-acquired infections.

Have you or a family member suffered from a hospital-acquired infection while a patient in the following hospitals in Virginia? If so, we would love to hear your story.

Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County, Danville Regional Medical Center, Stonewall Jackson Hospital, Carilion New River Valley Hospital, Montgomery Regional Hospital, Wellmont Bristol Regional Hospital, Carilion Giles Memorial Hospital, Alleghany Regional Hospital, Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital, Tazewell Community Hospital, and Lewis-Gale Medical Center.

Dan Frith

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at dfrith@frithlawfirm.com.