Nearly 722,000 people acquired infections here

Flu doctor check

About 1 in every 25 patients seeking treatment at hospitals acquired an infection there in 2011, according to a new study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Patients acquired some 721,800 infections at hospitals that year, according to the research.

Of those infected, about 75,000 died, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — although the study did not investigate how often an infection actually caused or contributed to the patient’s death.

The most common infections were pneumonia, surgical-site infections and stomach bugs.

Experts say patients can lower their risk by becoming their own advocate.

That includes asking questions as basic as, “have you washed your hands?”

The report also looked at state data and how well each one contained infections.