Almost 50,000 A Year Are Killed By Infections They Pick Up While Hospitalized


Posted on 26th February 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

, , , ,

Perhaps hospitals should post signs warning patients that they’re at risk of dying – from ailments they pick up while they’re being treated at those health-care facilities. Or so a new study says.

About 48,000 patients a year die from ailments – from pneumonia to blood poisoning – that they contract while hospitalized, according to a study by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy at Resources for the Future, a Washington think tank.

The cases of patients getting an illness while hospitalized lead to 2.3 million extra patient days in hospitals, costing $8.1 billion in 2006, the study found.

Sepsis, a blood infection, killed 20 percent of the patients who got it after surgery, according to the study. Patients who contracted sepsis after surgery stayed hospitalized on average 10 days more, costing $32,900 per patient.

As one doctor lamented, a basically healthy person can come to a hospital for routine surgery, but then develop sepsis because of sloppy infection control and die.

Pneumonia was another deadly disease contracted by hospital patients. Those who got pneumonia had to stay an extra two weeks at the hospital, for an additional cost of $46,400. Over 11 percent of those who contracted pneumonia died, the study found.

Simple measures such as better hygiene, like mere handwashing, and screening patients as they check in can help decrease the number ailments that patients get while hospitalized. But enforcing those actions is difficult.