While superbugs kill thousands of patients in California hospitals, many
deadly infections go unreported. To protect patient safety, we need stronger
federal and state regulations requiring hospitals to report deaths and
injuries caused by hospital-acquired infections.
Last year, a series of deadly infections tied to tainted medical scopes
made national headlines. However, those cases are just one example of
a patient safety epidemic that claims thousands of lives every year. According
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 75,000 patients
die each year due to infections that occurred during hospitalization.
detailed in a recent
Los Angeles Times article, as many as 9,000 Californians are believed to die each year from hospital-acquired
infections. However, the exact number is unavailable because California
does not require hospitals to report hospital-acquired conditions and
does not track patient deaths linked to superbugs and other serious infections.
To further compound the problem, many doctors do not reference hospital-acquired
infections when completing death certificates. The
Los Angeles Times details the story of a 72-year-old California woman who sought treatment
for a bleeding stomach ulcer and ultimately died of carbapenem-resistant
Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP), a deadly bacterial infection she contracted
after surgery. Her family was outraged when they learned that the hospital
did not report the infection and listed her cause of death as respiratory
failure and septic shock caused by her ulcer.
Despite the lack of data, superbugs are quickly becoming a national epidemic.
As highlighted by the
Los Angeles Times, a 2014 study found that infections (including those contracted inside
and outside hospitals) would overtake heart disease and cancer as the
leading causes of death in hospitals if the tallies were based on patients’
medical billing records, which show the actual condition being treated,
rather than death certificates.
While superbug infections can be difficult to treat, they are largely preventable
through basic infection control procedures, such as handwashing. However,
because hospitals are not held accountable, they have little incentive
to verify that all staff members are taking the appropriate steps to prevent
“We, the community of physicians, had been watching these patients
die and trundling them off to the morgue for years,” Dr. Barry Farr,
former president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America,
told the newspaper. “Now we’re in the eighth verse of the
At the Law Offices of Robert Vaage, our legal team has the experience required
to pursue a complex California medical malpractice claim. We encourage you to contact
a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free