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Boy dies in hospital after being attacked by 'bullies'

In most cases here in Michigan when people go to the hospital, they receive competent care--in some cases, life-saving care. In some cases, however, medical mistakes or hospital negligence leads to patients becoming even sicker while hospitalized. One common example of becoming sicker in the hospital is coming down with hospital-acquired pneumonia. Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be very serious, and one can acquire it in the hospital in several ways; patients sometimes get pneumonia from a respirator machine, and in other cases it is spread by health care workers who may have failed to follow basic protocols such as frequent hand-washing.

Many of us in Michigan heard the tragic story of a 12-year-old boy who died in the hospital after he began suffering seizures that were apparently linked to schoolyard bullying. The boy reportedly acquired pneumonia in the hospital where he was being treated, but his exact cause of death, as well as the cause of the pneumonia, have not been reported.

According to news reports, the boy was recently jumped by two of his schoolmates at recess; he sustained a broken nose and a concussion in the attack. About two weeks later, he began suffering seizures and doctors placed him in a medically-induced coma.

It has been reported that he got pneumonia while in the hospital and had to undergo a blood transfusion.

It is unclear at this point whether the boy's attackers will face any criminal consequences.

This tragic case should remind people of a number of important issues. Of course, focusing on preventing bullying and protecting children is at the forefront. Another issue that this brings up is the prevalence and severity of hospital-acquired pneumonia. While we do not know the details of this case discussed here, in some cases hospital-acquired pneumonia is life-threatening, and it is important that medical professionals do all that they can and all that is required of them to avoid spreading this illness.

Source: NBC 10 Philadelphia, "Students Consoled After Boys Alleged 'Bullying' Death," David Chang, March 4, 2013

Source: Medline Plus, "Hospital-acquired Pneumonia," 2013

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