Friday, July 15, 2005

Hospital Acquired Infections

Data Show Scourge of Hospital Infections

<By Ceci Connolly
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 13, 2005; Page A01

Nearly 12,000 Pennsylvanians contracted infections during a hospital stay in 2004, costing an extra $2 billion in care and at least 1,500 preventable deaths, according to state figures released yesterday that officials say represent a conservative measure of one of the deadliest problems in modern medicine. As the first state to collect data on hospital-acquired infections, Pennsylvania has put hard numbers on a troubling phenomenon that until now has only been estimated. Even so, the true infection rate and cost is probably much higher, the report's authors said, because of underreporting by many hospitals. The actual tally could be as high as 115,000 infections, based on billing claims the hospitals submitted to insurers, the report said. "Pennsylvania is 4 percent of the population, which means you may have an additional 100 people dying per day" nationwide because of hospital-acquired infections, said Marc P. Volavka, executive director of the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, the agency that issued the report. "That comes to an additional $50 billion" in medical charges in the United States annually, he said

Instead of cutting off malpractice rights, and denying care, the health care system could do something about medical errors. Actually, this report identifies a system problem which adds cost, kills people, etc, which requires an exposure based abatement system.

BrooklynDodger took the trouble to find the original report and skim it. The reporter neglected to mention that these reports were limited to medical device related infections. Although pneumonia is identified, it's only respirator acquired pneumonia. These are only a fraction of total infections, such as pneumonia or MRSA.

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