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Hospital Infection Rates Rise

A recent story in the Express Times , once again, brought to light the problem hospitals are having with their infection rates. A recent government study found that  'very little progress' has occurred in reducing the incidents of hospital infections. This has been an ongoing problem for over a decade. Most infections are avoidable. Nothing can be worse then when someone goes to a hospital for medical care and gets sicker because of an avoidable infection.  As the article pointed out, under the new heath care plan hospitals could be penalized through lower medicare reimbursements  if these problems persist. According to the report:

  • Rates of bloodstream infections following surgery increased by 8 percent.
  • Urinary infections from the use of a catheter following surgery increased by 3.6 percent.
  • The overall incidence for a series of common infections due to medical care increased by 1.6 percent.
  • There was no change in the number of bloodstream infections due to central venous catheters -- tubes placed in the neck, chest or groin to administer medications, drain fluids or collect blood samples.
  • Rates of pneumonia following surgery dropped by 12 % the one bright spot.

Read more at MSNBC . Infections can be very serious and are a part of the frightening statistic that as many as 98,000 people a year die in hospitals from medical errors. Dennis F Feeley


We'd all like to have doctors like the cast of "House" and be treated in state of the art clinics, but the fact is hospital infections are a growing epidemic. Doctors and hospitals are working hard, but we need to do more.

It would be interesting to see a statistic that attaches a cost factor for these episodes of infection. Perhaps if the insurance industry became more active we would see better results.

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