Hospital-acquired infections are cost $10 billion a year

A new estimate of the cost of infections developed in New Jersey and other states' hospitals was lower than earlier studies showed, but it was still pegged at a level of $10 billion per year. Whether the infection were caused by medical errors or by other factors, the new figure is an improvement on the $20 billion to $100+ combined billion figures calculated by previous research. One of the study's authors said that there was still much to be done on this front.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that roughly one in 20 patients acquired an infection while they were in the hospital for other reasons. The most expensive infections to treat were those developed in the bloodstream from central lines, long tubes inserted into a large vein in the chest or arm. These tubes delivered fluids, medications, blood products or nutrients to the patient's body. The cost of this infection was $45,814 per case.

The second most expensive infection was ventilator-assisted pneumonia, a lung infection that is acquired by a patient on a respirator, costing $100+ combined,144 per case. Also expensive were post-surgery infections that developed at the site of an operation, at a price tag on $20,785 per case. Infections caused by the tough-to-treat Clostridium difficile bacterium ran $11,285 for each case. A urinary tract infection due to a catheter was least expensive, costing $895 per case, according to the study.

Medical malpractice, medical negligence or hospital negligence may be behind the worsened medical condition of a hospitalized patient. A New Jersey attorney may be able to help in litigation following medical errors such as birth injuries as well. A misdiagnosis or surgical error could also be areas in which an experienced lawyer might be of service.