(NBC News) One of the leading causes of death in U.S. hospitals is an often preventable infection known as sepsis.
The problem is multifaceted.
Sometimes patients are getting sick because of hospital conditions, while at other times doctors are misdiagnosing the symptoms of the deadly infections.
12-year old Rory Staunton has become the face of the fight to decrease deadly infections like sepsis nationwide.
He died last year after getting toxic shock syndrome from a scrape he got in gym class.
"It was a day no parent wants to go through," Ciaran Staunton, his father, told Senators in a hearing on hospital infections Tuesday.
Staunton told Senators his son would be alive if doctor's hadn't missed the warning signs.
"No one took the time to review all the available information," he explained.
The infection that killed Rory is also commonly acquired at healthcare facilities.
The Centers for Disease Control says one in 20 patients will develop some kind of infection during their hospital stay.
Lawmakers are examining how to reduce the instance of healthcare associated infections which costs thousands of lives and billions of dollars in treatment each year.
Doctors say first steps include insuring cleanliness at health care facilities, increasing training for early detection and reducing the overuse of antibiotics which can make these infections resistant to treatment.
Conditions are improving.
In the last decade the CDC found the rate hospital patients are acquiring MRSA, one of the most common health care associated infections, fell by 30 percent.
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