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Doctor errors contribute to the spread of infections

Those familiar with medicine and patient care may agree that sometimes the lack of infection prevention and/or treatment can be just as bad as incorrect treatment. The spread of infection is a major issue in hospitals throughout the state of New York and the entire country, as hospital patients can be especially vulnerable to illnesses and injuries. And while strict guidelines are in place to help protect patients from infections in the hospital setting, there is evidence to suggest that issues like hospital negligence continue to expose patients to unhealthy conditions.

According to one physician, an effective way of determining whether or not a hospital prioritizes infection prevention is to look at its rates of bloodstream infections developed in the ICU. Ideally, patients should compare the infection rates of their local hospitals before being admitted; and once inside, hospital patients should be proactive by insisting that issues like nurse understaffing do not result in delays in their care or failure to uphold hospital standards regarding infection prevention.

The urge for patients to be more involved in their own care and safety comes in response to a recent study that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Over 11,000 patients in 183 hospitals were surveyed during a five-month period the 2011, and it was determined that approximately one out of every 25 hospital patients developed an infection during their stay. Some of the infections commonly acquired included bloodstream and gastrointestinal infections. However, surgery-site infections and pneumonia accounted for more than 20 percent of all surveyed cases.

The results of the study help to identify changes in infection rate statistics. For instance, it is now believed that the number of antibiotic-resistant infections has increased in recent years, while there has been a noticeable drop in some bloodstream infections.

Source: CNN, “1 in 25 patients gets infection in hospital,” William Hudson, March 26, 2014

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