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Incidence of acquired infection in New Mexico

New Mexico residents may be interested in how hospitals in the state fare in terms of health care associated infections. New Mexico participates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a program used to research and monitor infections acquired while receiving care in a hospital or other facility. Medical charts and other data are reviewed to determine the incidence and progress in preventing infection using a standardized ratio. The CDC collects the data through its National Healthcare Safety Network as a means of monitoring the prevalence and prevention of health facility acquired infections.

The incidence of hospital-acquired infections is highest in procedures that are invasive. Central lines are used to deliver medication directly into a patient's bloodstream. Infectious material may also be transmitted into the bloodstream leading to significant morbidity and mortality. Urinary catheters are another means of transmitting bacteria into the urinary tract, and inappropriate catheter sterilization and insertion may result in infection. Abdominal surgery, particularly with colon surgery and abdominal hysterectomy, may result in acquired infection. In all four categories, New Mexico's SIR is similar to the national average for participating hospitals.

Infections acquired at a medical facility may complicate the outcome of a procedure or treatment. Invasive techniques may be needed. However, care to prevent concomitant infection may not be adequate. When that happens, and a patient becomes seriously ill due to an acquired infection, the hospital or other health facility may be held accountable and liable. This negligence may result in a longer hospital stay, additional medical care and longer time away from work.

An attorney may help the patient harmed by inadequate infection control by reviewing the case, getting expert opinion and checking the hospital's standing in acquired infection prevention control. A medical malpractice suit may help by recovering compensatory damages.

Source: CDC.gov, "Healthcare-associated Infections (HAIs)-New Mexico", October 04, 2014

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