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The creation and spread of dangerous illnesses

For many reasons, hospitals are an ideal setting for new strains of bacteria to grow and thrive. Hospitals that are lax about cleanliness, follow outdate practices and contribute to the over-prescription of antibiotics are a danger to patients and the population as a whole. Infection is one of the most significant health concerns for patients who receive treatment, particularly surgical patients. A new type of infection has recently been discovered that could endanger the lives of millions of patients.

A combination of pneumonia strains

A form of pneumonia referred to as CRE is a known problem in hospitals. It is drug resistant, and therefore difficult to treat. Another type of pneumonia also occurs at many hospitals. It is not drug resistant, but it spreads remarkably quickly and causes severe damage to those afflicted. It is noteworthy in that it can spread among healthy adults, unlike most pneumonia strains which prey on the elderly, the very young or those whose immune systems are already compromised.

A recent outbreak in several hospitals in China has been traced to a new strain of pneumonia which appears to be a combination of the drug-resistant variety and the fast-moving, more virulent strain of the disease. The illness combines the worst elements of the two known forms. It killed five people in a single intensive care unit, all of whom were recovering from surgery and on ventilation.

A hospital's responsibility

Hospital-acquired infections are a known issue at many facilities. When hospitals make an effort to reduce these dangerous infections, and follow through, they are often able to improve their performance dramatically. When selecting a hospital, patients should look into the healthcare-associated infection rates of their options.

Patients who suffer infections should also consider the possibility that a defective medical product is to blame. Some devices, including certain medical scopes and 3T heater/cooler devices have been linked to a serious risk of infection. Victims of this type of infection may be entitled to compensation.

Source: NPR News, "Triple Threat: New Pneumonia Is Drug-Resistant, Deadly And Contagious," by Michaeleen Doucleff, 2 September 2017

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