Hospital Infections: Still Problem Despite Progress


Share this Post

Did you know that 1 in 25 people with infections actually get them while at a hospital receiving treatment?

This shocking statistic comes by way of a new study that was published n the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

You may think of hospitals as the cleanest environments on Earth. They're meant to be free from harmful bacteria and viruses that can lead to patient illnesses. Even with all the proactive measures taken, patients still leave hospitals with serious infections.

The study revealed that about 721,800 patients get infected at hospitals every year. The Center for Disease Control says about 75,000 of the infections will prove to be fatal.

The good news is that this number is actually down a bit. In 2002, the number was 98,987 deaths. Additionally, blood stream infections from central lines or lines inserted into a vein in the chest are down 44% within the past five years.

Dr. Michael Bell, director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the CDC, feels that "we can actually move the needle significantly" in terms of successful infection prevention at hospitals.

"At the same time, we're not doing a perfect job of doing everything we should," said Bell.

Bell also notes that the problem with hospital infections isn't universal, but rather varies from state to state. Problems with infections can even vary from hospital to hospital.

Said Bell, "There are some excellent places that are doing a bang-up job, and I would love to receive my care there."

On the flipside of the equations are hospitals that cause "great concern". These infection rates at such locations "can be related to staffing and resources; it could be related to the way things get done."

If potential hospital patients wish to reduce their risk of serious infection, the best thing they can do is properly research the hospitals in their area.

Image via Wikimedia Commons