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Study: Hospitals could do more to avoid infections

Although hospitals often argue that hospital-acquired infections are inevitable for seriously ill patients, recent studies refute this claim. One study found that age and severity of illness did not appear to be risk factors among 54 patients with varying ailments who contracted hospital-acquired infections during the three-year study period. A second study found that patients with hospital-acquired infections stayed in the hospital longer, were more likely to die, and faced higher costs than other patients with similar underlying illnesses. The severity of the effects of the infection could not be attributed to how sick the patient was on admission.

Experts recommend that health professionals do more to promote hand-washing among medical staff, take greater care in donning gowns and other infection-preventing clothing during medical procedures, use antibiotics more selectively, reduce traffic in and out of operating rooms, and isolate patients when necessary. Being proactive about hospital-acquired infections could not only prevent medical malpractice, but also save hospitals a lot of money.

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