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What’s new about hospital acquired infections that will change the landscape? Can it be that lawsuits which would have failed a few years ago now have a chance of winning? Can it be that the United States has fallen behind the hospitals in Denmark, Finland, and Holland that have nearly wiped out drug-resistant infections such as MRSA by implementing a few basic precautions like washing your hands immediately before touching a patient? The landscape is certainly changing here in the United States. But, is it soon enough to save the thousands of people that become needlessly infected in our hospitals?

We have to ask ourselves, why is it that 52% of the time on average, doctors failed to wash their hands before touching a patient? Can it be that hard?

Why is it that hospitals continue to place new patients in a room previously occupied by a patient with MRSA which increases the risk of infection because the bacteria are still on the floors and furniture? The new study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology documents that you are at increased risk of infection if you are placed in a semi-private room with a MRSA patient, yet this is done every day.

There is a growing body of evidence that hospital acquired infections are preventable (a never event) if the staff uses correct procedures. Many hospitals continue to shave the surgical site which leaves tiny nicks in our protective skin…just the place for bacteria to enter the body. Sometimes busy nurses forget to give a prophylactic antibiotic within an hour of the incision…how hard can that be? Or how hard can it be to advise patients to reduce their risk of infection by showering with Chlorhexidine soap daily before elective surgery?

What is the best approach for us as citizens to put a stop to this needless suffering…I welcome your responses.

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