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Infections after surgery are responsible for most readmissions

According to studies, many of the readmissions back to the hospital after surgery are due to infections at the incision points. Illinois residents will be interested to know that researchers have been studying hospital readmissions in an attempt to control health costs and to ensure better care for patients. It is hoped that by instituting changes, the readmissions to the hospital after surgery will be reduced.

Bacteria can enter a surgery incision either from a patient's body or from the use of unsterilized equipment or unclean practices. Many hospitals have started vigorous hand washing campaigns and other cleanliness practices.

Patients with certain conditions like poor blood flow and artery diseases are more prone to infections. It can also be difficult to observe these infections before a patient leaves the hospital because symptoms often don't appear until the patient has been home for several days. Doctors point out that patients need to be briefed before they are discharged from the hospital on the symptoms of infections and what to do if they get one.

On the other hand, a Public Health advocate says that most surgical infections are not usually caused by the patient. Rather the cause can often be found in the operating room. He suggests that studies be done in operating rooms where infections happen only occasionally. Observing what they do should enlighten other hospitals about how to change their practices.

More medical malpractice lawsuits involving medical negligence in cases of surgery site infections might be avoided if medical staff reported observed acts of negligence by their fellow co-workers. When acts of negligence are known, steps can be taken to change behaviors and procedures. In addition, better doctor-patient communication at the time of hospital discharge might prompt patients to recognize infection symptoms when they occur after the patient returns home.

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Q: What is medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient...

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