In the hospital? Ask providers to wash their hands

By now, you might probably think that everybody -- especially medical providers -- should understand that hand-washing is the best way to prevent hospital-acquired infections (HAIs).

However, it's apparent that not everybody in health care is getting the message. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health care providers are washing their hands less than half the times necessary to prevent the transference of infectious diseases. It's estimated that one out of every 25 patients in the hospital at any given time has an HAI.

If this sounds concerning to you, you aren't alone. The CDC is urging patients in hospitals to be proactive about hand-washing. Whether seeking emergency treatment or having routine surgery, patients are being asked to remind doctors and nurses alike to cleanse their hands before they perform an examination or handle medical devices.

Given that many HAIs are becoming resistant to standard antibiotics and can quickly turn lethal, hand-washing is more than a simple courtesy. Many hospitals have installed washing stations with soap and water and antibacterial cleansers right in patient rooms -- but that doesn't mean that harried medical providers will use them.

To protect yourself, the CDC suggests that you ask doctors and nurses to wash or cleanse their hands directly in front of you -- even if they say that they did so before entering your room. In addition, patients are urged to encourage family members and other visitors to do the same, particularly if those people will be involved in their care.

Hospital-acquired infections are a major source of injury for a lot of Americans. If you suffered a serious injury as a result of an infection that was passed to you by negligent practices at a hospital, an attorney can help you understand your ability to file a medical malpractice claim.

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