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Hospital Procedures To Blame For High Infection Rate

Hospital-acquired infections are primarily the result of unsanitary hospital practices and procedures, according to several new studies published this week in the American Journal of Medical Quality.

More than 90,000 people die every year because of hospital-borne infections. Hospitals had previously blamed the high infection rate on the susceptibility of extremely ill patients. However, three separate studies prove that patients are less to blame than hospitals.

“It’s the process, not the patients,” said David B. Nash of the Department of Health Policy at Thomas Jefferson University. “These three groups independently found that despite hospitals’ claim that in the sickest patients it’s inevitable that someone is going to get a hospital-acquired infection, that’s just not the case.”

Call to Action

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged medical centers across the nation to take measures to prevent hospital infections. Reducing operating room traffic, isolating extremely ill patients, and using antibiotics with greater caution, said Nash, are all measures that healthcare professionals should take to help curb hospital infections.

Hospital officials agree that more can be done to improve hospital safety and prevent infection. Nancy Foster of the American Hospital Association said, “We can prevent more infections that we thought before.”

Earlier studies have shown that hospital-acquired infections result in longer hospital stays, the need for more extensive procedures, and a greater risk of death. The problem has been the topic of numerous Institute of Medicine reports and congressional hearings.

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