Injuries during hospitalization resulted in an estimated 32,591 patient deaths, $4.6 billion in additional national healthcare expenditures and 2.4 million in added hospital days in 2000, according to a federal study in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association. Among 18 types of injuries, postoperative bloodstream infections had the most serious consequences; they extended hospital stays an average of nearly 11 days and increased patients' risk of death 21.9%, or about 3,000 deaths per year. The excess charges associated with such infections were $57,727 per case. The next most serious event was postoperative reopening of a surgical incision, which increased risk of death 9.6%, or 405 deaths annually, while adding 9.4 days per stay and $40,323 in charges per case. In contrast, birth and obstetric trauma resulted in little or no added length of stay, cost or risk of death, the researchers said. Read an abstract -- by Julie Piotrowski
Hospital injuries have high added costs: study
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