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Unsanitary hospitals put patients' lives at risk

Sometimes the simplest precautions can be the most important in preventing injury or illness. Wearing a safety belt in a car, putting on sunscreen and eating your vegetables are small acts that can save you from suffering a devastating injury or illness. You may include washing your hands on that list, and you would be right to do so. Unfortunately, even hospitals don't always follow this simple rule of hygiene.

If you recently spent time in an Illinois hospital, chances are you came home sicker than when you went in. This is frequently the case when a hospital staff is not diligent about cleaning their own hands and the surfaces you touch. Such oversights often lead to the spread of C. diff bacteria, which is now the deadliest hospital-related infection in the country.

Where C. diff lives

More lethal than AIDs or staph infections, C. diff spreads easily because it lives on surfaces for months. In fact, if your hospital is not meticulous about cleanliness, you may pick up the bacteria by touching any of the following surfaces:

  • Your bed rails
  • The tray where hospital staff places your food
  • Your wheelchair
  • A nurse's uniform
  • The call button beside your bed

Once your hand or eating utensils come in contact with C. diff, it is easy to ingest it by touching your food or putting a contaminated fork into your mouth. The germs soon destroy your body's defenses, potentially causing dehydration and eventually organ failure. This course of events is even more probable if you are taking an antibiotic. If you contract C. diff during your hospital stay, you are 4.5 times more likely to die than a patient who is not infected.

An ounce of prevention

Bleach kills C. diff. It's as simple as that. Wiping down frequently touched surfaces with bleach wipes drastically reduces the chances that someone will contract the bacteria. One study by the Mayo clinic reduced the presence of C. diff by 79 percent simply by wiping the railings on patients' beds every day using a bleach cleanser. Nevertheless, hospitals place their focus on mopping floors and often neglect the surfaces you may touch with your hands.

If you acquired C. diff, a staph infection, E. coli or another illness associated with unsanitary conditions in a hospital, you probably endured untold suffering and anxiety. If your loved one was among the unfortunate 9 percent of patients who die from C. diff complications, you have every right to seek redress through the assistance of a legal professional.

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