Posts tagged: HAI prevention

Study Shows That 1 In 3 Healthcare-Associated Infections Go Unreported

In a recent study conducted by the California Public Health Authorities, it was concluded that approximately one-third of the infections that should have been reported under California law were in fact not reported. This study, which was conducted in 2011, reviewed one-hundred hospitals in the state.

Several states have passed laws requiring the mandatory reporting of infection statistics from hospitals and other healthcare facilities. I personally had the honor of testifying at the Rhode Island State House in 2009 on behalf of such a bill, which was eventually made law. Public reporting of healthcare-associated infection statistics from hospitals and other applicable healthcare facilities is important for several reasons, including the fact that such statistics provide the public with tangible evidence that can help public health officials and other professionals better gauge the problem at hand. Yet as this study proves, more progress in this area is still needed in order to curb the unnecessary deaths due to healthcare-associated infections.

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Healthcare-associated Infections Kill 5 Times More People Than AIDS Every Year

It has been over 30 years since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first cases of HIV/AIDS. Since then, so much has been done to learn more about the virus and disease, as well as significant attempts to raise awareness and prevent the transmission of the virus to uninfected individuals. It is estimated that nearly 30 million people have died as a result of HIV/AIDS since the early 1980s. While these needless deaths are truly a tragedy, what is almost more shocking is the fact that in the United States, more people die annually as a result of something many of you may have not heard of: Healthcare-associated Infections.

Healthcare-associated infections include a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that a patient acquires while in any healthcare setting. Common HAIs include central-line associated bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and surgical site infections. Collectively, more than 1.7 million HAIs occur every year, killing more than 99,000 people. AIDS kills 18,000. Read more »

A Silent Epidemic: A Documentary That Could Save Your Life

In August of 2008, I lost my father to a number of healthcare-associated infections including C. diff, MRSA, and pseudomonas. As I began my freshman year at Providence College the following week, I started doing research to learn more about what happened to my dad, and what I learned astonished me. HAIs infect approximately 1.7 million individuals annually in the United States alone, killing nearly 99,000 of those who become infected. I also learned that these infections are largely preventable.

As I learned more about healthcare-associated infections, I knew I had to do something to help bring that information to others. The perfect opportunity arose when I became a film minor, with the hope of eventually making a film to raise awareness. In January of 2012, I contacted Pat Mastors, who I had met the winter after my dad passed away. Pat lost her father in 2007 as a result of C. diff, and has since become a huge advocate for patient safety and awareness, creating the Patient Pod, which is a tool to help keep patients safe in hospitals, nursing homes, and other related environments. She has also been an immense help in the production of this film, as she put me in contact with a number of individuals across the country, and also set up my interview with Dr. David Lowe, an infectious disease specialist who saved the life of one of her close friends. Dr. Lowe’s interview was also immensely helpful, as he explained complicated scientific information in a way that the average person can easily understand.

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Healthcare-Associated Infections: Overabundant and Underreported

It’s hard to turn on the news without hearing something about new advances in cancer research, or a recent car accident that has claimed the life of an innocent victim. While these examples are serious and noteworthy issues that deserve media attention. Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are the reason why approximately 99,000 people die annually in the United States alone, yet this issue receives little media attention compared to other diseases and events. As the ability to control and prevent such infections increases, the occurrence of HAIs becomes more and more unacceptable.
HAIs are a major problem, causing nearly 1.7 million infections annually and up to $45 billion in additional costs in the US healthcare system alone. Emotionally and financially devastating to those involved, the majority of such infections are preventable. While progress has been made recently to combat such infections, more general awareness needs to be raised in order for patients and their families to understand the risks they face while receiving healthcare, and what can be done to protect those at risk.

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Healthcare-Associated Infections: A Silent Epidemic That Took My Father

In July of 2008, my father, Richard G. Croke Jr., went into the hospital for a surgery to remove a piece of his esophagus after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer the previous winter. While the initial chances of survival for this type of cancer were slim, six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments left my dad cancer free. Although the esophagealectomy was an invasive procedure, we were told that the surgery would be the easy part of his journey now that he was cancer free.

The day after his surgery, I went to the hospital to visit him. He was up talking and cracking jokes in his usual manner. Everything seemed fine. Until we received a phone call from the hospital in the middle of the night saying that my dad was extremely ill and might not make it through the night. That was the beginning of the six weeks that changed our lives forever.

Upon entering his ICU room that night, my dad was full of almost 100 pounds of excess fluid, was attached to a number of IVs, and had a ventilator breathing for him. We were told that my dad was in septic shock, which was caused by MRSA entering the bloodstream through the contaminated central line on his foot. He spent six weeks in the hospital, and for a while was getting better until he caught C. diff about a month after the initial bout with sepsis.

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