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Healthcare-Associated Infections in North Carolina

The purpose of medical care is to help patients feel better, cure illness and heal injury. In the case of healthcare-associated infections, patients feel worse and sometimes die. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in 20 patients suffers a healthcare-associated infection (HAI). The damage from an HAI can be more serious than the condition for which the patient originally sought treatment. 

In a hospital setting, a patient who would not normally be exposed to dangerous germs can fall victim to infection when exposed to viruses, bacteria or fungi. HAIs frequently occur through practices in a healthcare setting that include: 

  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP): A contaminated ventilator or breathing tube can deliver germs to the lungs of an already struggling patient, causing pneumonia or other serious respiratory infection. 
  • Surgical site infections (SSI): A common HAI involves infection of the skin or underlying tissue of a surgical site. Surgical infection can lead to the necessity of additional surgery to treat an infection. 
  • Catheter-associated urinary-tract infection (CAUTI): Another frequent HAI is infection of the bladder or urinary system caused by catheters that harbor germs. 
  • Central-line associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI): Infections caused by germs entering the body through a central venous catheter, known as a “central line,” can quickly cause infection and fatal infection. 

Earlier this year, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services published its first report on HAI suffered in acute-care facilities in our state. Based on surveys of institutions around the state, the report serves as a benchmark for efforts to decrease the number of infections suffered by patients. 

Medical help should make you feel better. If you feel worse or suffer a medical mistake, you may have an injury claim. Seek respected legal advice in North Carolina.