Are You Safe From Infection in a Louisville Hospital?

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The hospital is the place that is supposed to make you better or relieve your pain. It is not supposed to be a dangerous place where you could acquire a potentially fatal infection that you didn’t have before arriving at the facility.

Yet about 648,000 people in the United States acquire dangerous infections in United States hospitals each year and approximately 75,000 of those people die from those infections.

In 2015, Consumer Reports looked at how more than 3,000 hospitals in the United States were doing when it came to infection prevention. Specifically, Consumer Reports examined information reported by hospitals to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between October 2013 and September 2014.

Louisville hospitals have dangerously high patient infection ratesLarge Hospitals in Louisville Didn’t Rate Well

Some of the specific infections that people can catch in a hospital setting include:

  • MRSA infections
  • C. difficile infections
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections
  • Central-line–associated blood infections.
  • Surgical site infections.

Some of the specific findings about hospital acquired infection rates in Louisville area hospitals included:

Hospital MRSA Infections C. difficile Infections Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infections Central Line Associated Blood Infections Surgical Site Infections Hardin Memorial Hospital 48% worse than national rates 31% worse than national rates 15% worse than national rates 18% better than national rates 57% better than national rates Norton Hospital 30% worse than national rates 4% worse than national rates 17% worse than national rates 23% better than national rates 45% worse than national rates Jewish Hospital 18% worse than national rates 29% worse than national rates 56% worse than national rates 4% better than national rates 44% better than national rates University of Louisville Hospital 332% worse than national rates 47% worse than national rates 53% worse than national rates 36% better than national rates 56% worse than national rates Baptist Health Louisville 71% better than national rates 14% worse than national rates 44% worse than national rates 35% better than national rates 20% better than national rates

Not one large hospital in the Louisville area received the highest possible grades for infection prevention from Consumer Reports.

In 2013, the Commonwealth of Kentucky investigated 9,689 reported cases of hospital-acquired infections—or infections patients got while in the hospital, according to Louisville’s NPR news station.

Hospital Infections Are Not Inevitable—They Can Be Prevented

According to Doris Peter, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, low ratings are “a sign that the hospitals are not doing enough to control those infections, that they need to do those things that we’ve asked them to do…”

Hospital infections may be prevented if:

  • Physicians stop overprescribing antibiotics.
  • Doctors, nurses, and other hospital workers improve hygiene.
  • Patients are empowered to ask questions about their care and feel comfortable requiring doctors, nurse, and others to wash their hands before entering their room.

If you have concerns about your own safety in a Louisville hospital then you have the right to have a loved one or advocate with you to monitor what it happening and to speak up if you have questions or see a dangerous practice.

However, the burden for preventing hospital-acquired infections remains on each hospital. Every facility should have an infection prevention protocol that is implemented to protect their patients from getting sick in a place where they should be getting medical care.

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