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Don't fall victim to hospital-acquired infections

The risk of contracting an infection while you are in the hospital is serious. Individuals who are going to the hospital, whether they are being admitted or making a trip through an outpatient department, should make sure that they are taking proper steps to reduce risk of infection.

Doctors, nurses and other people involved in patient care must ensure that they are taking steps to prevent the spread of infection. The steps that they take should be covered in hospital policy, but this isn't always the case. Some medical professionals take it upon themselves to institute procedures that are above and beyond what the hospital requires. When policies aren't set or aren't followed, negligence can occur and patients can suffer harm.

Dangers of infections in hospitals

Many people who are patients in the hospital have a weakened immune system. This means that even infections that won't necessarily harm a healthy person might have detrimental impacts on them. Some infections, such as MRSA, are resistant to antibiotics. This adds another level of difficulty to trying to help patients overcome the infection.

Basic hygiene practices to prevent the spread of infection

Using standard hygiene practices like hand washing can help to prevent the spread of infection. Many hospitals use waterless sanitizer for medical professionals but this might not be sufficient. You can ask that everyone who comes into your room wash their hands using soap and water in the sink.

Some nurses and doctors will use other precautions to prevent the spread of infection. Masks, gloves and gowns are some of the options to keep germs contained.

Cleaning equipment is necessary

Any piece of equipment that comes into contact with you needs to be sanitized prior to use. For example, doctors might forget to clean their stethoscopes before each use. This could spread germs from one patient to another. Ask that stethoscopes be wiped down with alcohol pads before they come into contact with you. Blood pressure cuffs are a bit more tricky but you can find out what options you have to get them cleaned before they touch you.

Other ways to reduce risk

If you are having surgery, find out if you will be shaved. Having a clean field to work in is important, but microscopic cuts from shaving might present a risk. Instead, the hospital might be able to use clippers to remove hair.

You should also pay attention to every action that medical personnel take. Ask questions about what is going on so that you can understand everything. If you have an IV or need catheters, discuss infection prevention precautions prior the procedure so that you can make sure they are followed.

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Alan D. Bell
650 Bloomfield Avenue, Suite 105
Bloomfield, NJ 07003

Phone: 973-233-4291
Phone: 973-743-7070

Top One, The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers, New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Attorney - seal of the supreme court of New Jersey, AV LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rated for ethical standards and legal ability, Lead Counsel LC Rated