Consumers Union, publisher of “Consumer Reports,” has made reducing nosocomial, or hospital-acquired, infections a major focus. To learn more, visit www.consumersunion.org/campaigns/stophospitalinfections/learn.html.
Researchers and others track hospital-acquired infections, but the information often isn’t publicly available or disseminated. Some states track the rate; Oklahoma doesn’t.
This is too bad, because nosocomial infections, especially the drug-resistant variety, are a huge health care problem and deserve scrutiny from the media and patients.
I would like to hear your experience with hospital-acquired infections. Have you or a loved one contracted an infection while hospitalized or shortly after discharge? Do you think hospitals and doctors do enough to reduce infections or pay enough attention to the risk? Would greater disclosure of hospital infection rates be something you would research?
Health care providers: How do you deal with nosocomial infections? Are your efforts enough? Are hospitals unfairly criticized? Can infection rates be reduced enough to matter?
The November issue of “Clinical and Infectious Diseases” documents a 7 percent annual increase from 1998 to 2003 in the rate of nosocomial Staphylococcus aureus infections.
The largest increase was among patients hospitalized for invasive orthopedic procedures — 53.5 percent.
The economic impact of hospital-acquired infections is more than $10 billion.
If you’d like to talk about this, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 475-3364.
Jeff Raymond, Medical Writer