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Understanding Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia (HAP)

Raj Gill

Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) refers to any pneumonia contracted by a patient in a hospital within 48 hours of being admitted. Unlike community-acquired pneumonia, it usually is caused by a bacterial infection rather than a virus. However, the typical bacteria found are antibiotic resistant. As a result, HAP is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the hospital setting.

Pneumonia is an infection, which causes inflammation in the air sacs of the lungs, called alveoli. With pneumonia, the alveoli fill with fluid, making it difficult to breathe. HAP tends to be even more serious than other pneumonia infections precisely because the germs in hospitals are often more dangerous than those found in the community. Typical bacteria found in the hospital setting include staphylococci, enterococci, and Psudomonas aeruginosa, which are all resistant to antibiotics.

Even if a patient faces higher risks of HAP during their stay, however, that does not imply that they will contract the disease automatically. Simple hygiene techniques and infection control practices can prevent the infection from occurring. When nurses wash their hands and use sterilized equipment, it reduces cross contamination between their patients and stops the spread of bacteria. In another example, dentists who monitor a patient’s oral cavity meticulously can prevent microorganisms from spreading with strict adherence to oral care.

When these prevention methods fail, however, there may be serious consequences for the patient. HAP is a major cause of patient morbidity and mortality, which remains high globally. HAP also accounts for 15% of all hospital-acquired infections, and with a mortality rate of 20 to 33%, it is also the deadliest hospital-acquired infection. For those patients fortunate enough to survive, their stay is lengthened 6-9 days in the ICU – and they will likely have to pay exorbitant costs for that lengthened stay.

At Grewal Law PLLC, our medical malpractice attorneys have seen the deadly and damaging effects of HAP firsthand. Because many instances of this illness are caused by negligence, you may have grounds for a lawsuit if you contract HAP during a hospital stay. With over 100 years of experience, our team can review your claim and help you determine whether you have grounds to sue.

For more information, contact our team at (888) 211-5798 today.

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