hospital infections

  1. Diarrhea spores found on doctors' hands

    Dirty docs spread deadly germs

    Healing hands? More like filthy paws -- because doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers aren't just as dirty as everyone else.

    Some of them are dirtier.

    They're walking around with disease-causing germs all over their mitts -- and new research finds that a quarter of them have some of the nastiest bugs of all on their hands: diarrhea spores.

    Yes, the phrase alone is enough to make you want to wear rubber gloves before you shake your doctor's hand. But this gets worse, because these aren't any old diarrhea spores.

    No, they're walking around with hands full of Clostridium difficile, a powerful superbug transmitted through feces that'll cause the worst case of diarrhea you've ever had.

    It's so bad you could literally poop to death.

    In the new study, the spores were found on the hands of 23 percent of doctors, 19 percent of nurses and 42 percent of nursing assistants.

    This study was done on hospitals in Europe, but you can bet the numbers would be just as bad -- maybe worse -- over here, where studies have found that an alarming number of doctors and nurses don't wash their hands enough (or even after using the toilet).

    This isn't just disgusting. It's deadly, because C. diff sickens more than 250,000 Americans per year and kills up to 30,000 of them (and in just about the worst way imaginable).

    And most of the victims pick up the infection in the hospital ... from dirty doctors, dirty nurses and dirty equipment.

    If you happen to be in a hospital or care facility yourself, don't let anyone touch you -- don't even let them near you -- unless they wash up first.

    There's a sink in the room, feel free to point them over to it.

    And while you're in the joint, you might want to brown bag it -- because C. diff isn't just on hands. It's also in the food. Read this for more... if you can stomach it.

  2. Poor hospital hygiene kills thousands

    Imagine a country where the hospitals are so bad, tens of thousands of people are killed by filth, ignorance and stupidity.

    Stop imagining -- because this isn't some Third World stinkhole I'm talking about... these deaths take place in the dirty dives that pass for hospitals right here in the United States.

    In fact, 80,000 people get sick and 30,000 people die every year just from dirty catheters or unclean nurses sticking them in and yanking them out. These illnesses are so common there's even a name for them: catheter-related bloodstream infections, or CRBSIs.

    We could eliminate literally all of them -- and the need for that long abbreviation -- with simple common-sense hygiene.

    As you might expect, nurses say it's not their fault. I'd say they washed their hands of the blame -- but clearly, there's not a lot of hand-washing going on around here.

    In a survey conducted by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, the nurses blamed everything from paperwork to poor training to lack of funds.

    Give me a break! How much training and money do you need before you start washing your hands? Kindergarteners know this stuff by heart -- maybe we should put them to work in hospitals.

    Of course, these CRBSIs are just one of the many ways even a minor hospital stay can turn deadly in a heartbeat. All told, nearly 2 million Americans get infections in the hospital -- and at least 100,000 die, every single year.

    And then there are all the medical screw-ups, from drug mix-ups to botched procedures to plain old neglect. The numbers will vary depending on who you ask, but no matter who's numbers you use medical mistakes are among the top 10 causes of death in the entire nation, killing between 100,000 and 250,000 people a year.

    And there's just no excuse for it.

    If you find yourself in that special hell known as a hospital, make sure you have someone who can watch you -- and your nurses and doctors -- like a hawk. Your life is quite literally on the line.

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