Many Massachusetts residents receive care through the Harvard Medical School system or Johns Hopkins University. For many patients, the association with a highly reputable academic and medical institution may provide a sense of security or trust in the level of care received. While there are many positive things about these two institutions and their facilities, there may also be some lesser-known dangers.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that they are on the list of the country’s most deadly hospitals due to germs and infections. It joins some of the nation’s most prestigious medical centers identified as exposing patients to a serious level of infection. A report indicates that in 2011, approximately 75,000 people died due to hospital-acquired infections. Over 50 percent of those deaths involved Clostridium difficile.

More than 400,000 patients annual experience C. difficile infections that may force them to rely on antibiotic treatment for weeks or even months. The infections are largely able to develop due to poor hygiene on the part of medical providers. Things like washing hands and following good hygiene protocol when inserting tubes into patients’ bodies are known to reduce the risk of these infections. The CDC indicates that it is hospital administrators, nurses and doctors who bear the brunt of the responsibility for the high number of infections.

Patients should be able to trust in the safety of their care while in hospitals. When a person suspects that a problem may have occurred, they may wish to speak with an attorney to understand their options for compensation.

Source: NBC News, “America’s Germiest Hospitals? The Answer May Surprise You,” Maggy Fox, March 3, 2016