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What should I know about healthcare-associated infections?

Whether you visit your doctor or go to the hospital, the hope is that you return home feeling better than when you went in. However, as you and other Californians may be aware, healthcare facilities harbor numerous infectious elements, including harmful bacteria and viruses. In most instances, your medical team will be able to prevent you from contracting a dangerous illness during your visit, but this is not always the case.

Healthcare-associated infections are common incidents, in fact. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, you may contract a secondary infection while being treated at your doctor’s office, the hospital, an ambulance, a long-term care center or an end-stage facility. The most common healthcare-associated infections include pneumonia, bloodstream infections, surgical site infections, infections involving the staphylococcus bacteria and urinary tract infections. The following circumstances are most commonly associated with an infection contracted by a healthcare visit:

  • Infection originating at an injection, catheter or surgical site
  • Areas that are not properly disinfected
  • Incorrect use of antibiotics
  • Communicable illnesses between medical staff and patients

Medical professionals state that about one out of every 25 inpatients are experiencing a hospital-related infection at any given time. It is also concerning that antibiotic-resistant bacteria infections originating in hospitals are becoming more common. It can be devastating to fight a secondary infection you received at a medical facility, especially if your immune system is compromised by a surgical procedure, an existing condition or advanced age. Since this topic can be complex, the information here is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.

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Redwood City, CA 94061

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