Patients in hospitals expect to be competently treated for their medical problems. They expect their broken bones to be mended, their surgeries to be successful, their infections and diseases cured. Parents expect that their children will be made well, and families expect their loved ones pain to be ameliorated. The last thing patients expect is for the hospital to make them sicker, or cause them to die.
But in some hospitals just that seems to be happening, and at an alarming rate. In a study published yesterday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the authors estimate that 1.7 million patients in American hospitals suffer from a hospital acquired infection each year. Hospital acquired infections are those that the patient gets while in the hospital, during treatment for the disease or medical condition the patient was admitted to the institution for. Additionally, the authors estimate that in 2006, approximately 48, 000 of patients who suffered from hospital acquired infections died as a result. The study revealed that one patient out of every five who developed sepsis died; one patient out of every ten who developed pneumonia also died.