South Florida medical malpractice claim can result from hospital infections

A recent study found more than 1.7 million people a year are injured by hospital infections, MSNBC reported.

South Florida medical malpractice cases continue to occur as a result of patients contracting serious or fatal infection because of hospital negligence. Hospitals are a breeding ground for so-called “super bugs,” which survive in hospital environments by developing resistance to disinfectants and antibiotics. Their resistance can make them particularly dangerous to patients recovering from illness or surgery.

The report found 1.7 million people a year are injured by hospital infections, which cost the medical system $8.1 billion in 2006. It is the first attempt to put a price tag on the growing problem. More than 48,000 people were killed by hospital infections during the 8-year study period.

“In many cases, these conditions could have been avoided with better infection control in hospitals,” said Ramanan Laxminarayan of Resources for the Future, a think tank that sponsored the study.

Sepsis, a blood infection, killed 1 in 5 patients who contracted it after surgery, according to the study, which was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Patients with sepsis had to stay in the hospital for an average of 11 days longer, at a cost of $32,900 per patient.

Patients who contracted hospital pneumonia had to stay in the hospital an extra two weeks at a per-patient cost of $46,400. More than 11 percent of them died.

“In some cases, relatively healthy people check into the hospital for routine surgery,” said study participant Anup Malani of the University of Chicago. “They develop sepsis because of a lapse in infection control and they can die.”