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How a hospital stay can make you sicker — or even kill you

Hand hygiene by healthcare workers is an essential part of protecting hospital patients from infections.
Hand hygiene by healthcare workers is an essential part of protecting hospital patients from infections.

Sometimes a visit to the hospital makes you sicker than you were than you arrived.

On a typical day, 1 in 25 hospital patients had at least one infection they got while in treatment, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“These are terrible infections — it’s not like a cut to your finger that gets infected,” said Helen Haskell, a South Carolina-based patient safety advocate who is the president of Mothers Against Medical Error. “Even people who are very strong have aftereffects for years.”

Most infections that are associated with medical care are preventable if hospitals follow the right protocols. Some Georgia hospitals are making great progress at protecting patients. But others aren’t doing as well.

Check out the AJC's latest investigation and AJC Hospital Checkup website to see new statistics about which Atlanta hospitals are the safest – and which may be putting you at risk.