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Hospital Infections Down to 1 in 25 Patients

Update Date: Mar 26, 2014 02:40 PM EDT
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Even though hospitals treat and cure infections and other illnesses, a patient's risk of contracting an infection while undergoing other types of treatments is relatively high. In order to cut down on this risk, hospitals have implemented many different steps that encourage a cleaner and more sterile environment. According to a new study, hospital infections have indeed gone down. Now, one in every 25 patients gets an infection at the hospital.

For this study, the researchers acquired information on hospital infection rates and patient care from 183 hospitals. 11,282 patients were surveyed from May 2011 through to September 2011. During this year, 721,800 people had an infection at these hospitals and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that around 75,000 infected-patients died. Even though these numbers are still higher than ideal, in 2002, there were 1.7 million health care-related infections. Out of this number, 155,668 of the patients had died with 98,987 of the deaths caused by the actual infection.

This study that examined the year 2011 did not identify whether or not the deaths occurred due to the infection or other factors. However, the statistics reveal that fewer patients are getting infected. Of all infections, pneumonia and surgical-sites were the most common ones. They accounted for 22 percent each out of all the cases. Other common infections were gastrointestinal infections, urinary tract infections and bloodstream infections. The researchers noted that even though overall infection rates fell, there was still a large gap between the infection risks at different hospitals.

"Even though we've had great success nationally, there still are pockets of hospitals that have rates of infection that are several times the national average. The reality is that oftentimes there's very little that's being done about it," Dr. Peter Pronovost, director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at John Hopkins, said according to CNN. "There's no accountability for a hospital that has very high infection rates, and my sense is, there absolutely needs to be."

The director of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden, added reported by NPR, "Although there has been some progress, today and every day, more than 200 Americans with health-care-associated infections will die during their hospital stay."

The federal report can be accessed here.

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