Kingston, New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer Reveals How You Can Prevent Hospital-Acquired Infections

Hospitals, Infections

Hospital infections kill more Americans each year than AIDS, car accidents and breast cancer COMBINED! A recent study of Veterans Administration hospital highlighted a big reason for hospital-acquired infections–hospitals do a lousy job of cleaning rooms.

Unclean hospital rooms cause deadly infections

The number one cause of hospital-acquired infections is poor room cleaning. Unclean hospital room raise the risk of contracting many different kinds of hospital infections. The number one predictor of a hospital-acquired infection is who occupied the patient’s room in the prior two weeks, when three or four patients could have occupied the room.

When hospitals do a poor job cleaning a hospital room, germs get left behind by past patients and those germs are lying in wait for the next patient. Patients are at great risk for infections when placed in a room where a previous patient had an infection. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that a patient’s risk of picking up the drug-resistant MRSA is much higher if the previous occupant of the hospital room had it.

Being placed in a room where the last patient had Clostridium difficile (C-diff for short), more than doubles the risk of getting the infection, according to a new study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. C diff is the most common hospital acquired infection in parts of the United States. C diff can cause life-threatening diarrhea and cause havoc in your gastrointestinal system. Bad stuff, especially considering the hospital can prevent it by keeping the hospital room clean.

How do germs spread in an unclean hospital room?

How do you pick up infections in a hospital room? Patients pick up invisible bacteria when they touch surfaces in their room, then eat food with a contaminated hand and swallow the bacteria along with the food.

According to a Tufts University study of 36 hospitals from Boston to Washington, D.C., cleaners routinely overlook half the surfaces in patients’ rooms. Toilet seats are cleaner than telephones and call buttons.

Doctors and nurses may clean their hands when entering the room, but they often recontaminate them when they touch privacy curtains or bedrails. The doctor then touches the patient and germs enter the patient’s body via an IV, or surgical incision.

What you can do to prevent hospital-acquired infections

Hospitals won’t tell you who occupied the room before you, so what can you do about it? If you’re visiting a family member or friend at a hospital, take gloves and a can of bleach wipes. Germs left behind by other patients are lying in wait, so you should go to work to clean every surface in the room.

You should insist that doctors and nurses wash their hands before touching your loved one. Doctors may not like you telling them what to do, but WHO CARES! Hospital-acquired infections can kill your loved one, so a gentle reminder to the doctor to wash his hands is a small request.