Deadly Infections in Hospitals
Deadly infections are a serious problem in hospitals. To prevent these infections, hospital workers will typically test patients for the drug-resistant bacteria MRSA and then isolate and treat those that are infected. However, a new study found that the best way to prevent hospital infections doesn't even require prior testing, and that it is better to treat every patient with the germ-killing soap and ointments used to treat those who do test positive for MRSA.
MRSA, Silent and Deadly
MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a bacteria that is highly resistant to a host of drugs commonly used to treat infection. About 1-2% of people carry MRSA in their noses or skin, but have no symptoms of infection until they reach the hospital. Once at the hospital, they become susceptible to having the bacteria enter the bloodstream during invasive procedures or to other patients through health workers' hands.
Largest Study of Its Kind Demonstrates Best Method to Prevent Infections
The study, which is the largest of its kind, looked at nearly 75,000 patients at 74 adult ICUs in 43 hospitals. The protocol, whereby all patients are treated with germ-killing soap and ointments regardless of whether they test positive for MRSA, is known as decolonization. The study found that hospitals where decolonization was utilized reduced all blood stream infections, including those caused by other germs. Overall, deadly infections caused by other germs were reduced by 44%, and the incidence of MRSA-positive patients was reduced by 37%.
MRSA Costs the Healthcare System
The researchers also added that this protocol should be adopted by all hospitals to prevent deadly hospital infections, which cost the healthcare system $20,000 per one infection. The universal treatment approach is relatively inexpensive and yielded dramatic benefits.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.