While there have been a few lawsuits, hospitals appear to have avoided liability for these preventable illnesses. Now, a study in the American Journal of Medical Quality suggests that the situation may be worse than anticipated. Not only is that not a strong litigation deterrent (my view), but this study says that hospitals are actually making a killing by making patients sick. Researchers found that an ICU patient who develops an avoidable central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) costs nearly three times more to care for than a similar infection-free patient. Here is the most amazing fact: hospitals earn nearly nine times more for treating infected patients.
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