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Hospital Acquired Infections

Hospital Acquired Infections

Hospital acquired infections are a leading cause of death in the U.S. Consumers Union supports public disclosure of infection rates so that you can choose the safest hospital and hospitals will have an incentive to improve.

Click here for State Health Care Acquired Infection Reports

Consumers Union Documents

Consumers Union News Releases

Blog Posts

  • Safe Patient Project teams up with Maine activist Kathy Day

    Safe Patient Project’s Daniela Nunez went to healthcare and patient safety-related meetings in Maine this week, joining activist Kathy Day who won a patient partnership award at the Maine Quality Counts conference. Read about important health care conversations happening in Maine.

  • Consumers Union’s “Ending Medical Harm” Conference Brings Awareness and Action

    Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project held an incredible conference on November 6, 2013 at Columbia University’s School of Journalism in NYC that gathered experts, journalists and activists to address the pressing public health threat of medical harm. Our conference, “Ending Medical Harm: Tackling the 3rd leading cause of death in the US,” had approximately 150 Continue Reading

  • Endangered Patients: WA Consumer Forum Explores Ending Medical Harm

      Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project and Washington Advocates for Patient Safety (WAPS) teamed up to host a patient safety forum at the Seattle Public Library to explore ideas for ending patient harm and what consumers can do to protect themselves from medical errors, hospital infections and failed hip and knee implants. About thirty-five people heard Continue Reading

  • Hospital Harm: New Estimate of Patient Deaths due to Hospital Care Shockingly High

    John T. James PhD, a patient safety advocate in our Safe Patient Project network, has published a new study in the Journal of Patient Safety that estimates the number of patient deaths associated with hospital care is more than 400,000 a year. James’ estimate revises an outdated Institute of Medicine 1999 estimate of 98,000 patient deaths a year from medical errors. His numbers should awaken the public to this leading cause of death in America. In this special guest blog post, John James tells us what motivated him to come up with this new medical harm estimate.

  • Health Care Worker Hand-Washing Compliance Remains Frustratingly Low

    Hand-washing by health care workers — or their failure to do so — has received repeated attention by the media. But the hand-washing compliance rate remains frustratingly low — as little as 30 percent of the time that health care workers interact with patients.

News Articles

  • Mother believes her newborn was the first to die from fungus at Children's Hospital in 2008
    Source: The Times-Picayune (Wednesday April 16, 2014)

    The Times-Picayune reports: “After Cassandra Gee read a story on NOLA.com detailing the five children who died at Children’s Hospital in 2008 and 2009 from a fatal fungal infection passed through linens, she identified the first baby NOLA.com profiled as being her son, Tyrel Cayden Gee, who was born premature on July 12, 2008. She said she first noticed the sore on his groin while he was in the NICU and brought it to the attention of doctors. Three days later, she held him in her arms as he died.”

  • By the time Children's Hospital began investigating deadly fungus in 2009, three children had already died
    Source: The Times-Picayune (Wednesday April 16, 2014)

    The Times-Picayune reports: “In 2009, Children’s Hospital began investigating an outbreak of a deadly fungal infection that was being transferred to patients through hospital linens. By the time hospital officials reached out to state and federal health officials about the matter, three children had already died. It is not clear if the families of the already deceased children were ever informed of the outbreak. “

  • Children's Hospital investigated five patient deaths from deadly fungal disease in 2009
    Source: The Times-Picayune (Tuesday April 15, 2014)

    The Times-Picayune reports: “Five children died at Children’s Hospital in 2008 and 2009 after coming in contact with a deadly fungus transmitted to them through the linens they slept on, according to court records, interviews and a new report published by a pediatric medical journal.”

  • Most area hospitals receive above average scores in Consumer Reports’ safety analysis
    Source: Seattle Pi (Thursday March 27, 2014)

    Seattle Pi covers Consumer Reports’ latest release of hospital safety scores, quotes Consumers Union Activist, John James, Ph.D, and CU’s Safe Patient Project Director, Lisa McGiffert.

  • Chicago Sun Times covers Consumer Reports hospital ratings
    Source: Sun Times (Thursday March 27, 2014)

    Chicago Sun Times covers Consumer Reports’ hospital ratings that were released today.

Research and Reports

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (April 2014)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Tuesday April 1, 2014)

    Summary from John James: For many around the country spring cannot come too soon. Sadly, spring will not come again for too many Americans who sought only to be healed of their illness, and instead experienced a preventable adverse event that harmed them to death. I am sad for those who lost loved ones in the Oso mudslide and in the Malaysian jet disappearance, but far, far more human lives were cut short by suboptimal medical care. I offer this month’s newsletter as a tribute to all who have been lost in the last month to medical errors. They are nameless like the Unknown Soldier; however, few pay any attention to their passing.

    Newsletter contents this month are as follows:
    • Harm to nursing home patients
    • C diff infections – kids and adults
    • Do you really need a transfusion?
    • White-coat infections
    • Beware high-dose acetaminophen
    • Surgical site infections in out-patients
    • Hospital-dependent patients
    • Infections from endoscopes

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (February 2014)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Sunday February 2, 2014)

    Summary from John James: “The first article in this month’s newsletter describes the new guidelines for management of high blood pressure and the second speaks to new guidelines for healthy living. Both sets of guidelines seem to me to be more realistic than previous ones. In keeping with the guideline theme, the third article summarizes how “patient preferences” could be integrated into evidence-based medical guidelines. This is an important area because patient-centered care must be consistent with your preferences.

    I was surprised to read the complications that result from tonsillectomies, so I wrote about that in the 4th article. Treating healthcare associated infections is expensive; find out how expensive in the 5th article. Informed consent, the subject of the 5th article, is often denied patients, despite the sham paperwork that often accompanies the pre-surgical process. The concluding article summarizes how the perverse incentive of money affects the care received by nursing home patients with advanced dementia and an acute illness. If you are looking after such a person, then you need to be aware of the incentives to over-treat.”

  • CDC Healthcare-associated Infections (HAI) Progress Report
    Source: CDC (Wednesday March 26, 2014)

    “Healthcare-Associated infections are a major, yet often preventable, threat to patient safety. The [CDC's] National and State Healthcare-Associated Infections Progress Report expands and provides an update on previous reports detailing progress toward the ultimate goal of eliminating healthcare-associated infections.”

  • Information about Rhode Island ICU Collaborative
    Source: Healthcentric Advisors (Tuesday January 7, 2014)

    “The collaborative aims to improve patient safety and clinical outcomes for adult intensive care unit (ICU) patients in the state, through the development of a unit-based patient safety program and the implementation of proven evidenced-based practices, leading to a reduction in ICU length of stay, complications and associated costs.” Latest outcomes available here: http://www.healthcentricadvisors.org/images/stories/documents/2012%20annual%20performance.pdf

  • Health Watch USA Newsletter (January 2014)
    Source: Health Watch USA (Tuesday January 7, 2014)

    In this issue, Dr. Kevin Kavanagh highlights news on antibiotic resistance, C.diff solutions, and unreported robotic surgery injuries.