More hospitals using robots to help prevent infections

Each year, according to the CDC, hospital patients throughout the United States develop hospital-acquired infections. About 100,000 of those patients die, and many more suffer serious, non-fatal complications. Recently, a growing number of hospitals are taking a new approach with robots designed to detect and kill germs.

Often, hospital-acquired infections are a preventable result of human error. Despite understanding the risks, many doctors, surgeons and other hospital staff simply fail to take adequate precautions to keep their hands and other surfaces clean. The new robotic cleaning systems are designed to step in where human cleaning methods fall short, keeping hospital surfaces cleaner and preventing the spread of viruses and bacteria that can lead to dangerous infections.

The remotely-operated disinfecting robots use ultraviolet light to destroy harmful microbes and prevent them from reproducing. Although it may sound futuristic, the robots are catching on fast at hospitals around the country, fueled in part by recent fears of Ebola and other deadly, highly contagious diseases. Industry experts say they expect the market for these systems will continue to grow in the coming years.

Common types of hospital acquired infections

Unfortunately, although hospitals and other health care facilities are meant to help restore and preserve patients' health, they also create breeding grounds for the spread of infectious diseases. The following are some of the most common types of hospital acquired infections:

  • Surgical site infections. When a surgical wound becomes contaminated with harmful microbes during or after a surgical procedure, it can lead to a surgical site infection affecting the skin, organs or other tissues.
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is a type of staph infection that is resistant to antibiotics and can be life-threatening. It frequently spreads in hospitals and other health care environments, usually through procedures such as intravenous tubing or surgery.
  • Central line-associated bloodstream infections. When a tube is placed incorrectly in a patient's vein, or when the tube is not kept clean after placement, it can result in germs entering the body and causing a blood infection.
  • Clostridium difficile. When patients take antibiotics, it destroys not only the harmful bacteria that is making them sick, but also the good bacteria that their bodies need to stay healthy. This makes patients vulnerable to certain diseases, including C. difficile, which is often spread in the hospital setting and can result in severe and potentially fatal diarrhea. According to the CDC, New Mexico hospitals have a substantially higher-than-average infection rate for this type of infection.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a serious infection or other complications following surgery or other medical care, it may have been the result of medical negligence. Talking to an attorney about the problem can be an important step toward not only seeking compensation for yourself and your family, but also holding the hospital accountable and making sure steps are taken to prevent the same thing from happening to other patients. Contact the knowledgeable medical malpractice attorneys at the Law Offices of Salazar, Sullivan & Jasionowski to arrange a free initial consultation.