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Beth Janicek
Beth Janicek
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Preventable bloodstream infections caused by ignorance and neglect

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A survey of medical professionals released a study stating that deadly yet easily preventable bloodstream infections continue to plague American hospitals due to facility administrators failing to commit resources and attention to the problem.

An estimated 80,000 patients a year develop catheter-related bloodstream infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30,000 patients die as a result, which accounts for nearly a third of annual deaths from hospital-acquired infections in the United States.

Catheter-related bloodstream infections could be almost eliminated if hospital workers followed a five-step checklist:

1. Wash hands with soap;

2. Clean patient’s skin with an effective antiseptic;

3. Put sterile drapes over the entire patient;

4. Wear a sterile mask, hat, gown, and gloves;

5. Put a sterile dressing over the catheter site.

It is also important for clinicians to continually reconsider whether the benefits of keeping the catheter in outweigh the risks, and also use electronic monitoring systems that allow them to spot infections quickly and assemble a rapid response team to treat them.

The survey conducted by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, stated that hospitals are not learning how to adopt these practices because of ignorance and neglect. Peter Pronovost, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said that part of the problem is that many hospital chief executives aren’t even aware of their institution’s bloodstream infection rates, let alone how easily they could bring them down.