Hospital Infections

By Ken Buben, President, FancyScrubs.com

Hospital Infections Kill More Americans Each Year Than AIDS, Breast Cancer and Auto Accidents Combined!

California legislators are disappointed that the Department of Health has acted slowly on landmark laws controlling hospital infections. “Thousands of Californians die each year from preventable infections – infections they get in the hospital.” said State Sen. Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara. She authored the 2008 law requiring the public reporting of hospital infections.

Testing for Infections

Hospital-acquired infections kill about 12,000 people in California each year, according to state estimates. 100,000 die each year from hospital infections in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control. Hospital infections kill more Americans each year than AIDS, breast cancer and auto accidents combined.

The most high-profile physician leading the charge is Pronovost, a professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His campaign began nearly a decade ago after Josie King, an 18-month-old girl, was infected during treatment at Johns Hopkins. Her death stunned the hospital staff, which mobilized to fight the type of infection King suffered – one caused by a central line used to feed and medicate her. Such infections, among the most deadly, are common in hospitals nationwide.

Hospitals cannot afford to avoid reducing infections.  For example: Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh would have made a profit treating a 37-year-old video programmer and father of four who was admitted with acute pancreatitis, but the economics changed when the patient developed an MRSA bloodstream infection. He had to stay in the hospital 86 days, and the hospital lost $41,813, according to research by Richard Shannon, former chairman of the Department of Medicine at Allegheny.

Hospitals must take steps to avoid these deaths and costly stays of infected patients.  They need to take such steps as:

* Washing hands thoroughly

* Making sure their patients wash hands prior to eating

* Cleaning medical tools such as blood pressure cuffs and thermometers properly

* Wearing protective medical uniforms to avoid spreading germs from patient to patient.

* No wearing of neckties in hospitals

* Washing and sanitizing all surfaces in the hospitals such as food trays, wheelchairs, remote controls, etc.

* Environmental cleaning done regularly and rigorously

Please comment here to give us more tips on how to avoid spreading infections in the hospital.

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