Avoidable infections acquired in hospitals kill 100,000 a year

All patients being treated in hospitals, whether for serious surgery or routine procedures, should be made aware of Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus (MRSA), an infection acquired during hospitalization. 100,000 people die of MRSA annually. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one out of every 22 patients will acquire an infection during hospitalizations totaling 1.7 million patients a year. It is also estimated that out of that group, 99,000 would die. MRSA has recently been proven as avoidable in many cases. Pittsburgh Veterans Hospital has cracked down on doctor hygiene and hospital cleanliness, while taking other minor precautions and has noticed a decrease in MRSA infections. According to the hospital’s chief of staff, “the infection control program cost about $500,000 a year, including test kits, salaries for 3 workers, and the $175-per-patient cost of gloves, gowns and hand sanitizer. The hospital… realized a net savings of nearly $900,000 when the number of infected patients fell.” Hospitals should take note, especially since Medicare will no longer pay for “preventable” conditions induced by carelessness or medical malpractice in hospitals. One of the “preventable” categories is certain types of hospital-acquired infections. The hospitals themselves will have to cover these often enormous amounts.

Statistics show that accidental hospital infections kill more Americans than alcoholism, twice as many as car crashes, three times as many as deaths by firearms, and five times as many homicide victims. Hospital-acquired-infections cause more deaths than Alzheimer’s disease or diabetes. Patients infected with MRSA had three times the normal length for their hospital stay and total charges. They were also five times more likely to die in the hospital than other patients that weren’t infected. The national cost of treating hospital-acquired-infections is estimated around $20 billion.

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