A new study from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reports that approximately 33,000 people die each year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria—and about 75 percent of those deaths are attributable to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
Just as in the US, HAIs are a major public health concern in the European Union. The ECDC research, published in the journal Lancet, estimates that the number of annual infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria was approximately 671,689. Of those, approximately 64 percent were associated with healthcare settings. As in the US, the most vulnerable populations include those people who are under one year of age, and those over 65 years old.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, more than 1.7 million patients suffer HAIs in this country each year, and approximately 99,000 patients die as a result.
Unfortunately, antibiotic-resistant infections now commonly impact patients in healthcare settings around the world. Hospitals are home to tenacious, adaptable, and resilient germs. Easy to spread and shockingly severe, HAIs gain inroads into the human body in a number of ways, including:
- Surgical site infection: You may enter the hospital for a planned surgery, or you may enter through the Emergency Department. Throughout your journey in the healthcare system, you are repeatedly exposed to stronger-than-average germs that reside in all areas of the healthcare environment. Surgery can introduce infection into your body, or weaken your immune system so that it is unable to fight back against infectious agents picked up in the hospital.
- Devices and equipment: Equipment like respirators, catheters, and tools that are not properly sanitized between patients are easy routes to infection in a hospital.
- The healthcare environment: By nature, hospitals, hospital workers, patients, and visitors deposit, spread, and share infection and illness.
Along with infection control and hospital hygiene, antibiotic stewardship is an important part of reducing multi-drug resistant infections in the EU and the US. The CDC notes the goals of effective antibiotic stewardship as:
- Improve the safety of patients
- Decrease the number and severity of HAIs
- Improve outcomes in hospital settings
- Reduce overuse of antibiotics
Around the world, there is significant work to be done to reduce death and disease from antibiotic-resistant germs. Here at home, if you are discharged from a hospital stay with a severe, healthcare-associated infection, speak with an attorney with experience in medical negligence.
If you suffer a severe HAI, our injury attorneys can help
With offices in Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, DC, the law firm of Schochor and Staton, P.A. is well-known for its compassionate, successful legal representation on behalf of those who suffer medical injury or wrongful death. If you or a loved one has suffered significant medical harm, contact us today or call 410-234-1000 to schedule a free consultation concerning your case.