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Is Dirty Air a Problem in Hospitals?

Jul 24, 2018 | Firm News, Medical Malpractice

Many people fear going to the hospital because they believe they might catch an illness just from being in the hospital itself. The fact that so many people visit the hospital each year makes it important that hospital staff keep the facilities clean so that infections do not spread. However, sometimes an Indianapolis hospital staff may overlook their own ventilation system as a possible avenue for pathogens to spread.  

Hughes Environmental points out that many hospitals do not clean their duct systems on a consistent basis. Ductwork ventilates air throughout a building. Additionally, air ducts are responsible for maintaining the air at a comfortable temperature. However, ducts can also gather dust, pathogens and other contaminants if the ducts are not kept clean. Those contaminants can be carried throughout a building and may be especially harmful if transmitted through a hospital.

Why are air ducts overlooked?

It is easy to consistently clean surfaces that are readily visible. Floors, for instance, are out in the open and walked on every day, so it is easy to keep floors in mind as a surface that needs regular cleaning. On the other hand, the ductwork of a building is generally not easily visible since many ducts are positioned up in dropped ceilings behind air grills.

What makes dirty ducts harmful?

If air ducts are not cleaned on a regular basis, pathogens can gather inside the ducts. Over time, harmful substances such as mold, fungus, bacteria, and viruses can grow inside the ducts if water stagnates inside the vents. These substances can later be carried on the air that flows through the ducts and spread throughout the hospital.

Since many patients have weakened immune systems, they can especially suffer from these dangerous substances. Contaminated hospital air may cause a patient to grow sicker or even die from the exposure. Since hospital air is supposed to be as clean as possible to help facilitate recovery, polluted air is a major breach of duty of a hospital to its patients.

Be aware that this article does not provide the reader with legal advice. It is written only for the educational benefit of the reader.