Posted By Susan Doherty,
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Updated: Thursday, June 6, 2013
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Originally in the NY Daily News by Betsy McCaughey, here are a couple excerpts from "After the gunfire: infections can kill: Unclean hospitals are a danger to patients nationwide"
According to her doctors, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is breathing on her own and has been upgraded from critical to serious condition. Now, her major risk is infection, they report. Nationwide, an estimated 25% to 33% of patients in intensive care contract hospital infections.
Imagine surviving a gunshot, then having to fear a deadly germ lurking on your bedrail. Hospital infections kill an estimated 100,000 people in theU.S.each year, more than the combined death toll from highway fatalities, breast cancer and AIDS.
When researchers at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center trained cleaners to drench surfaces, rather than spraying and quickly wiping, and to clean commonly overlooked objects, the spread of VRE to patients was reduced by two-thirds.
Robert Orenstein, an infectious disease expert at the Mayo Clinic, showed that cleaning frequently touched surfaces with a bleach-saturated wipe daily reduced the risk of the deadly infection Clostridium difficile by 33%.
Hospitals need to translate all this research into action. Converting to single rooms may not be feasible, but at the very least medical facilities should focus on thoroughly cleaning surfaces around a patient's bed and testing surfaces to be sure the cleaning is done. Hospitals did such testing routinely until the 1990s, when antibiotics replaced attention to hygiene.