hospital-acquired infections

  1. Hospital-acquired infections are massive moneymakers

    Hospitals profit off making you sick

    Hospitals where patients are routinely sickened and even killed by gross negligence, filthy conditions, and medical mistakes should be shut down -- and the administrators locked up.

    Instead, these festering pits are actually REWARDED for their screw-ups with heaping piles of cash to "treat" the very patients they actually harmed.

    One of the most common -- and deadliest -- hospital-acquired infections is the central line-associated bloodstream infection, or CLABSI. Basically, it's a dirty IV tube -- or dirty docs and nurses handling the tube once it's in -- and it should never happen.

    Instead, it happens so often that it sickens 80,000 American hospital patients a year and KILLS 28,000 of them.

    But those aren't the numbers most hospitals care about. No siree -- the number they really care about is $50,000.

    That's that EXTRA PROFIT they make off each patient who suffers one of these infections, according to new research published online in the American Journal of Medical Quality.

    A normal ICU patient who isn't infected earns a hospital roughly $6,506 in profit. But a patient who gets a central line-associated bloodstream infection, on the other hand, is a veritable cash cow earning the hospital nearly $55,000 on average.

    That's not the total cost -- that's just the profit, free and clear. The total cost to your insurer is roughly $400,000 extra per stay.

    (CLABSI infections aren't the only thing you need to worry about with a stay in the hospital. To find out what could be lurking in your hospital food... besides bad taste... click here. But I must warn you first... this one isn't for the faint of stomach.)

    The researchers have some well-intentioned ideas on how to improve conditions at these hospitals, like asking insurers to fund programs designed to increase hygiene and cut down on infections.

    PUH-leaze! Why should insurance companies pay to teach doctors and nurses to wash their hands? I've got a much better idea: Don't pay hospitals a single penny for patients who are sickened or hurt by their care.

    Remove the financial incentive for screw-ups -- and PENALIZE them for incompetence -- and you can bet this will change overnight.

  2. The doctors of the future are DUMB

    There's a simple way to stop the spread of disease in hospitals, where drug-resistant germs are running so rampant they're practically taking over: Wash your darned hands.

    Yet when it comes to this basic step -- a step we all learned in preschool -- today's leading medical students get an "F."

    Only a third of students surveyed at Germany's Hannover Medical School were able to name the five situations in which they need to wash their hands.

    For the record, the correct answers are: before contact with a patient, before preparing IV fluids, after removing gloves, after touching the patient's bed, and after contact with vomit.

    I hope all of them at least got that last one right -- and if you think any of this is limited to German medical students, you're kidding yourself.

    Heck, even our full-grown docs with walls full of degrees and years of experience fail at basic hygiene more often than you'd ever want to know. In some studies, they've been caught red-handed not washing their hands after using the bathroom... even when someone was in the same restroom watching them!

    It's not just disgusting -- it's reprehensible. People go into hospitals and die every day not because of the condition that brought them there... but because of infections they picked up IN THE HOSPITAL.

    Some 1.7 million patients suffer from hospital-acquired infections in the United States every single year -- and close to 100,000 of them DIE because of those infections.

    That's even more than the number of people killed each year by traffic accidents and drug overdoses combined!

    Many of these infections and deaths can be prevented with simple common-sense hygiene -- yet neither the doctors of today nor the doctors of tomorrow seem to know what that means.

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