Healthcare Acquired Infections Pose Danger in American Hospitals
Recent research gives a startling view of the danger of healthcare-acquired infections (HAI) in the United States today.
For individuals who are seriously ill or injured, a hospital is a dangerous place to be. HAIs are potentially fatal infections developed by patients through contaminated equipment and other means. Most HAIs take the form of one or more of the following:
- Pneumonia: Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) occurs when patients on a ventilator breathe in germs on tubing or other ventilator parts.
- Bloodstream infections: Central lines used to deliver medications and liquids or to draw blood samples are a common source of serious infection.
- Surgical site infections: Surgical infections include those of the skin covering the site, or in the tissue affected by the surgery.
- Urinary tract infections: Use of catheters delivers foreign microbes to organs of the urinary system, causing urethra, bladder, kidney and other infections.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports progress in fighting HAIs, far too many patients are injured through infection while seeking medical help:
- On any day, one in 25 patients develops at least one infection during a hospital stay
- There were more than 700,000 HAIs reported in 2011, the most recent year data is available
- Approximately 75,000 patients die each year from HAIs
The Director of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden, notes, “[a]lthough there has been some progress, today and every day, more than 200 Americans with healthcare-associated infections will die during their hospital stay.”