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Given that the purpose of medical facilities and professional medical care is to treat a huge range of injuries and conditions, you might assume that patients leave the hospital better off than when they came in. Unfortunately, though, that is not always the case. A large number of people who are admitted to the hospital for medical treatment and/or surgery develop serious infections and related complications every year. In fact, the actual number of medical patients who develop septicemia may be much higher than reported figures suggest.

Safepatientproject.org discusses the medical condition called septicemia, more commonly referred to as sepsis, and explains that the serious form of blood poisoning is typically acquired in hospital settings. Sepsis is caused by an infection that enters the patient’s bloodstream as a result of bacterial contamination. Sepsis has different levels of severity, and is known to affect various organ systems throughout the body. As a result, the condition is often very serious and fatal in many cases. Mortality rates of patients diagnosed with severe sepsis are between 20 to 50 percent. Beyond that, the number of people who die every year from sepsis is on the rise.

Septicemia is known to be caused by hospital-acquired infections, along with pneumonia. One study estimates that pneumonia and sepsis caused by HALs result in 48,000 deaths every year. That number accounts for almost half of all HAL fatalities annually.

Effectively identifying and treating the early signs of septicemia is crucial to promoting patient health and safety. However, it is just as important for medical professionals and facilities to prevent hospital-acquired infections from occurring in the first place.