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Preventing the spread of infection in hospitals

Like others elsewhere, New Yorkers go to the hospital to get better. However, some people end up getting sicker as a result of hospital infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about 100,000 people die each year from hospital infections.

Certain bugs are particularly hard to get rid of. For instance, Clostridium difficile, also known as C-diff, cannot be removed with hand sanitizers. In addition, it can remain on surfaces for an extended period of time.

One man believes that he developed C-diff at New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital last year. He says that he received proper care while he was in the hospital. However, he didn't feel entirely confident with the hospital's cleaning practices.

Some hospitals have begun using machines equipped with ultraviolet lights to kill infection-causing germs. The machines cost around $125,000.

Some hospitals have found the machines help them keep patients healthy. However, it is unclear at this point if the germ-fighting machines are really all that beneficial. As one CDC official points out, "Environments get dirty again." At the end of the day, promoting hand washing may be just as effective.

Doctors, nurses and other hospital workers must work to prevent patient harm. That means that hospital workers should take steps to avoid the spread of germs.

Patients can suffer serious and even fatal complications if hospitals do not have proper cleaning procedures in place. Fortunately, New York City residents may be able to pursue legal action if they suffer serious complications as a result of negligent health care workers.

Source: USA Today, "Hospitals see surge of superbug-fighting products," April 29, 2013

· Our firm handles cases involving instances of hospital negligence. To learn more, please see our website.

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