More than 14% of patients who go to the hospital for a colorectal procedure suffer a surgical site infection after surgery. Surgical site infections can be dangerous and life threatening, but there may be effective ways to reduce the risk, according to the results of a new study. A quality improvement study that was recently completed found that surgical site infections could be reduced by almost one-third when hospital staff take simple steps to prevent such infections.
The hospitals that participated in this study found that surgical site infections dropped about 5 percent, from 15.8% to 10.7%, and that the average length of hospital stays for those who suffered infections decreased by a few days when reasonable steps were taken to avoid infection. One of the steps credited for preventing infection was to require everyone in the operating room to change into clean gloves, gowns, and other protective covering after the procedure but before closing the patient, so as to avoid contaminating the surgical site. Other interventions included having the patient bathe with antibacterial soap prior to surgery and regulating the use of antibiotics for certain procedures.
The steps identified in the study are reportedly inexpensive and easy to implement in urban and rural hospitals throughout the country. The procedures are expected to be available for hospitals this year.
Our Louisville medical malpractice lawyers hope that the new surgical site infection prevention procedures will help prevent infections and save lives for Kentucky patients undergoing colorectal procedures.