When Nevada patients are admitted to the hospital, they usually have no reason to suspect that they will actually become more ill during treatment. However, a medical malpractice attorney in Nevada may see a large number of patients fall victim to serious, potentially deadly infections they pick up while in the hospital during his or her career. One of the most common hospital-acquired infections in U.S. hospitals is pneumonia.

What is hospital-acquired pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a condition in which the lungs become inflamed. When this happens it causes the tissue to leak fluid and shed dead cells. The small air sacs of the lungs that are designed to transfer air into the bloodstream become filled with the extra material and it becomes difficult for patients to breathe. The condition can be caused by a variety of bacteria and viruses, although bacteria are most often to blame. When non-intubated patients are admitted to the hospital for something other than pneumonia and then they develop a lung infection within 48 hours of their admission, they have hospital-acquired pneumonia.

Potentially deadly for hospital patients

Regular pneumonia is a common condition that many healthy people can overcome with little help. A medical malpractice attorney in Nevada often sees those who get hospital-acquired pneumonia and are not so fortunate. According to the National Institutes of Health, when individuals are already fighting off other sicknesses or recuperating from surgery in the hospital, they are particularly vulnerable to death by pneumonia due to an impaired immune system. Additionally, the germs that are present in the hospital are often much more dangerous than those seen in the regular community. This makes the body work even harder to remove an infection that even a healthy person may have trouble overcoming.

Rates of infection

Hospital-acquired pneumonia is the second-greatest cause of hospital-acquired infection. Patients in medical and surgical intensive care units are the most likely to become infected with a bacterial strain of the disease. As many as 5 to 15 cases of these medical errors occur per 1,000 hospital admissions. Between 27 and 50 percent of those infected will die as a result of the condition. According to Medscape, pneumonia is such a large problem in the U.S. that it accounts for 50 percent of all antibiotics administered in the nation’s hospitals every year. When patients survive the condition, they stay 7 to 9 days longer in the hospital and see an average increase of $40,000 in their hospital bills. Doctors and other hospital staff often do not do enough to stop the spread of the germs that cause pneumonia. Those who have been treated for a hospital-acquired infection should contact a medical malpractice attorney in Nevada as soon as possible for help. Injured patients may be more likely to receive the compensation they need with the help of an attorney.