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Drug-resistant infections are under-reported by hospitals

It may sound like the plot for a movie, but "superbugs," or drug-resistant infections, are real and becoming an increasing problem at U.S. hospitals, nursing homes and care facilities.

Victims range from newborns to older adults. They are in the hospital for a variety of reasons. Some are giving birth and some have just been born. Some are in for surgical procedures. And some are sick and in need of medical treatment to get better. Most of them do not survive the infection. Unfortunately, they also have another thing in common: Their real causes of death go unreported, resulting in a greater threat to public safety.

It has been 15 years since the United States government declared drug-resistant infections to be a grave threat to public health. Despite this span of time, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other government agencies have not imposed any type of reporting requirements.

The government agencies claim that doctors and clinicians lack the training or knowledge needed to properly fill out forms. In other cases, they claim the infection is obscured by other medical issues.

An investigation by Reuters uncovers another possible reason: denial of liability. "There's also a powerful incentive not to mention a hospital-acquired infection: Counting deaths is tantamount to documenting your own failures," the report states. "By acknowledging such infections, hospitals and medical professionals risk potentially costly legal liability, loss of insurance reimbursements and public-relations damage."

In order to fight against antibacterial-resistant infections, such as methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), it is important to understand the extent of the problem. Currently, government agencies seem unable or unwilling to establish proper reporting procedures to find out.

If a loved one has died due to a drug-resistant infection, you can hold hospitals accountable even if they do not list it as the cause of death. Contact an attorney to discuss your options.

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