Friday, July 27, 2007

Wash Your Hands, For God's Sake

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that "this year that one of every 22 patients would get an infection while hospitalized — 1.7 million cases a year — and that 99,000 would die". What to do about it? "(A) few hospitals have demonstrated that simple screening and isolation of patients, along with a relentless focus on hygiene, can reduce the number of dangerous infections." An example, from the NYTimes (07.27.07):
"At the Veterans Affairs hospital in Pittsburgh, officials say the number of infections with a virulent bacterium known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, dropped to 17 cases last year from an average of 60 before the program started. The 40-bed surgical unit that began the experiment in 2001 has cut its infection rate by 78 percent.

Such results are not unprecedented. Several European countries, including the Netherlands and Finland, have all but eliminated MRSA through similarly aggressive campaigns.

Swabs in Hand, Hospital Cuts Deadly Infections

Back here in the good old USA? "(A)t many American hospitals, experts say, high infection rates have been accepted as a cost of doing business."

Guess requiring the staff to wash their hands a lot is prohibitively expensive. Too bad for you, huh.



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