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Surgical Centers Fail to Prevent Hospital-borne Infections

A recent study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that ambulatory surgical centers failed to prevent hospital-borne infections in 46 of the 68 surgical centers that the study examined. Researchers reported lapses in infection control in hand hygiene, injection safety, medication and handling, equipment reprocessing, environmental cleaning, and handling of blood sugar monitoring equipment. The study found that 28% of the facilities used medications in single-dose vials for multiple patients and that 32% of the facilities performing blood glucose testing did not clean and disinfect the blood glucose meters after each use. Additionally, the study found that 6% of the facilities reused items that were packaged and labeled as single-use devices and 21% of the facilities used a single lancing penlet device for multiple patients in blood glucose testing.

Ambulatory surgical centers operate exclusively to provide surgical services to patients who do not require hospitalizations or admission lasting longer than 24 hours. Between 2001 and 2008, researchers found that there was a 50% increase in the number of Medicare certified ambulatory surgical centers in the United States. During that same period of time, researchers also found a significant rise in problems relating to hygiene and safety health procedures at the Centers.

Hospital-borne infections are a serious problem facing hospitals. When a patient suffers further injury or death because of a hospital’s failure to prevent infections, hospitals may be held liable. Hospitals can prevent infections among patients by making sure that both the hospital staff and visitors regularly clean their hands with an alcohol-based hand cleaner. Hospitals should also make sure that if a patient needs an IV that it is inserted and removed under clean conditions and changed every three to four days.

For more information about the Center for Disease Control study, visit WebMD.

If you believe that you or a loved one has been the victim of a healthcare provider error, such as an infection that could have been prevented, please consult our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys to discuss your possible claim.