There is no excuse for the infectious disease epidemic raging in many of America’s hospitals and nursing homes.
According to the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, more than 100,000 lives are lost to hospital infections each year. The major culprits include methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), and Clostridium difficile (C-Diff).
The saddest part, according to the Committee, is that the infections are preventable. And the solutions are relatively low tech. People admitted to hospitals should be screened for MRSA. The spread of VRE and C-Diff can be halted through better hygiene and more thorough room cleaning. (It doesn't do much good when caregivers put on sterile gloves, pull open contaminated curtains, and then touch the patient.) There is also evidence that giving daily probiotics (namely lactobacillus acidophilus) to patients on antibiotics can prevent germs such as C-Diff from taking over their digestive systems.
Betsy McCaughey, Chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, warns in Unnecessary Deaths: The Human and Financial Costs of Hospital Infections that “The situation is growing more dangerous because, increasingly, hospital infections cannot be cured with commonly used antibiotics.” McCaughey points out that more people die each year from hospital infections than from lack of health insurance.
You can make donations to the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths here.