The Archives of Internal Medicine released a new report revealing that roughly 48,000 people a year in the U.S., including patients in the state of Illinois, are killed as a result of pneumonia and sepsis caused by hospital-acquired infections. Not only did this take an obvious toll on the survival rate of patients nationwide, but it also increased U.S. healthcare costs by $8.1 billion within a single year. Some of these Illinois cases could have been the result of Illinois medical malpractice or Illinois nursing negligence.
Both pneumonia and sepsis are caused by potentially deadly microbes, which includes the well-known Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Sepsis is a potentially lethal, systemic response to infection wherein the body’s bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacteria, that can eventually lead to massive organ failure. Pneumonia is an infection limited to the lungs and respiratory tract that can also be fatal. The study reports that it analyzed 69 million discharge records from hospitals in 40 different states.
The increase in hospital costs is mostly due to the fact that patients who acquire pneumonia or sepsis in the hospital typically require longer stays and more care than those who don’t. For example, the study found that patients that developed sepsis after surgery were hospitalized 11 additional days than those patients who did not develop sepsis, which increased the hospital costs by $33,000 per patient. And for those patients who acquired pneumonia after surgery, their hospital stay was lengthened an additional 14 days, leading to additional costs of $46,000 per patient.
And while patients who develop pneumonia typically end up with higher hospital bills than those who develop sepsis, those patients who develop sepsis post-op have worse outcomes than those who develop pneumonia. According to the study, 20% of those patients diagnosed with sepsis after surgery die as a result of the infection, whereas only 11% of those patients diagnosed with hospital-acquired pneumonia die. Perhaps the most tragic part of the study was the information that revealed that may of these cases of hospital-acquired infection could have been controlled.
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