Is Your Hospital A Safe Place or a Hot Bed for Infections?

There’s an old saying, when you’re sick the last place you should be is in a hospital. Unfortunately, it’s often the case that hospitals are dangerous places where sick people get sicker. This is so because hospitals can be hotspots for infections and diseases that are transmitted from one patient to another.

Consumer Reports has published a study of 3,000 of the nation’s hospitals rating them on their safety, especially in terms of infections. Here’s an excerpt of the article: “Hospitals can be hot spots for infections and can sometimes amplify spread,” says Tom Frieden, M.D., director of the CDC. “Patients with serious infections are near sick and vulnerable patients—all cared for by the same health care workers sometimes using shared equipment.”

Making the situation even more dangerous is the widespread, inappropriate use of antibiotics that’s common in hospitals, which encourages the growth of “superbugs” that are immune to the drugs and kills off patients’ protective bacteria.

It’s “the perfect storm” for infections to develop and spread, says Arjun Srinivasan, M.D., who oversees the CDC’s efforts to prevent hospital-acquired infections. “We’ve reached the point where patients are dying of infections in hospitals that we have no antibiotics to treat.”