Hundreds of Americans Die Each Day From Hospital-Associated Infections


Newly released federal data indicate just how susceptible patients are to infections while in the hospital.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using information from a 2011 study of 183 hospitals in the United States, found that an astonishing one in 25 hospital patients will catch a potentially deadly infection while at the hospital.

According to the Washington Post, the most common infections are as follows:

  • Pneumonia, 22 percent
  • Surgical site infections, 22 percent
  • Gastrointestinal infections, 17 percent
  • Urinary tract infections, 13 percent
  • Bloodstream infections, 10 percent

These infections include the likes of the methicillin-resistant staph infection Staphylococcus aureus and another bacterium that has been in the news plenty lately, Clostridium difficile.

The findings are reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Infections transmitted by many routes

"You go to the hospital hoping to get better," said Dr. Micheal Bell of the CDC to NBC News. "Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen. 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."

How are these infections being transmitted? Experts postulate that it could be via a number of routes, including inadequate hand washing, the use of poorly sterilized equipment, and the overuse of antibiotics.

The good news for cancer patients requiring hospitalizations and needing a central line is that in another CDC report, researchers found there to be a 44 percent decrease in central-line associated bloodstream infections since 2008.

Still, the overall threat persists, likely shifting some of the responsibility to make sure that health care professionals handling central lines and other routes of infection are doing so safely onto the shoulders of patients themselves or their advocates.

Source: Digital Journal


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