While a hospital is supposed to be the most sterile place in our city, thousands of patients each year actually end up worse because of hospital-acquired infections.
A new investigation from Consumer Reports looks into hospital infections to rate which medical institutions perform better or worse at protecting their patients from superbugs and other scary diseases.
If your hospital made you sick, here’s why
“In the ongoing war of humans vs. disease-causing bacteria, the bugs are gaining the upper hand,” according to the report. “You might think of hospitals as sterile safety zones in that battle. But in truth, they are ground zero for the invasion.”
In fact, every year an estimated 648,000 people in the U.S. develop infections during a hospital stay, and about 75,000 die with them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is considered more than twice the number of people dying in car accidents.
Paradoxically, many of these cases can be traced back to the incorrect use of antibiotics.
Consumer Reports analyzed data on MRSA and C. diff infections – considered among the most common and deadly “superbugs” in the nation. Results show that only 6 percent of hospitals scored well against both infections, according to the report.
MRSA, for instance, claims the lives of more than 8,000 patients per year. One of them was Terry Otey who died after the bacteria took hold in his surgical incision and quickly spread to his heart, killing him in three months.
Recommendations for patients and for hospitals
Another problem tackled in the report concerns the use of antibiotics. On any given day, antibiotics are given to approximately half of hospital patients. Overall, 25 percent get two or more, according to the CDC. “But up to half of the time, doctors don’t use the drugs right,” the report states.
Overall, patients were recommended to question antibiotics, consider MRSA testing and insist on cleanliness. Hospitals on the other hand, need to keep track of infections, be transparent and ready to deal with outbreaks.
Have you ever been infected in a hospital? Share your experience in the comments section below.