An estimated 48,000 people died in 2006 after developing sepsis or pneumonia during their hospital stays, according to a study published in this week’s edition of Archives of Internal Medicine. Such infections forced patients to spend an extra 2.3 million days in the hospital and cost $8.1 billion to treat, the study found. This was reported in the health care blog of the L.A. Times. From the article:
“These figures are likely to be underestimates because they focus on infections that were acquired and diagnosed during the same hospitalization, although many [hospital acquired infections], including most surgical site infections, are not diagnosed until after hospital discharge.”
If that’s not scary enough, study co-author Anup Malani from the University of Chicago Law School had this to say in a news release: “In some cases, relatively healthy people check into the hospital for routine surgery. They develop sepsis because of a lapse in infection control – and they can die.”
He added that the nation’s hospitals need to find a better way to reduce the risk of infections. Let’s hope the nation’s hospitals are listening.