April 4, 2007 - Hospital infections are among the top ten leading causes of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. There are countless stories about patients who go into hospitals with minor conditions and leave under much graver circumstances. As a patient, knowing the right questions to ask about how hospitals prevent infections is extremely important.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control published new infection-control guidelines last October outlining strategies to prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections in health-care settings that affect about 2 million people every year.
According to Nina Shik, RN, an infection-control professional at the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, KA, "those guidelines are critical since the proportion of bacteria resistant to antibiotics has risen sharply the past three years." By 2004, nationally, 63 percent of the bacteria that cause "staph" infections had become resistant to antibiotics commonly used to kill them; in 1972, only two percent of these types of bacteria were drug resistant.