According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the “CDC”), about one in twenty patients who are hospitalized for treatment, will contract a hospital-acquired infection such as MRSA. In spite of those scary statistics, patients in Georgia still do not have access to the kind of information they need to make a safe choice while choosing a hospital.
Georgia’s laws do not require hospitals to share information about infections in their facilities. Hospitals are only required to notify Georgia’s public health officials about an outbreak of an infectious disease like tuberculosis, but are not required to report infections that occur in patients who have been admitted into the hospital for treatment.
Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers hope that will soon change. The Georgia Department of Public Health has kicked off a program aimed at preventing the kind of hospital-acquired infections that occur in Georgia’s hospitals daily. The hope is that at some point, the system will also allow a statistical record of infections. However, all that is in the future, and currently, patients in Georgia have no way of ascertaining the safety of the hospital they are considering. This is a shame, because we are seeing a large rise in the number of potential clients who have contracted MRSA and other infections due to hospital stays and the resulting negligence of the hospital.
Reducing hospital infection rates have proved to be a challenge for Georgia’s public officials. Many of these infections can be serious and even fatal. For instance, central line-associated bloodstream infections that are typically picked up in intensive care units can kill a patient. These infections can be prevented if medical care professionals follow a checklist every time they handle patients.
In the meantime however, patients need information about infection rates in particular hospitals. Even our neighbors like Tennessee have strong hospital infection reporting systems in place that allow public health officials to track infections across the state hospitals on their computers, and monitor the kind of progress hospitals are making in reducing these rates. Hospital have made great strides in the recent past to put policies and procedures in place to reduce the number of malpractice claims asserted against them. Better tracking and reporting of infection rates, outbreaks of infections and cases of patients who contract illnesses as a result of the care given to them would go a long way in helping to reduce claims in this area as well. It would also make it easier to prove a case, if one arose, and this is why the hospitals lobby and fight so hard to not have to report any of this important and useful information.
Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, automobile accident cases, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.