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Reducing Infections Acquired in Hospitals


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthcare-associated infections (HAI) affect one in 20 hospitalized patients. You may acquire an HAI in a healthcare setting when exposed to germs during your stay or during a procedure. A new study that looked at one deadly form of HAI suggests careful cleaning measures can dramatically reduce the dangerous impact of the germ Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile.

HAIs can be introduced to your system in a number of ways, including through a ventilator to your room, in a catheter, in a central line going directly into your bloodstream or through a surgical site. According to the CDCC. difficile is associated with approximately 14,000 patient deaths per year. C. difficile is commonly linked to the use of antibiotics. Older patients and those who suffer from compromised immune systems are also more likely to experience complications due to C. difficile.

The 21-month study from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine evaluated the use of three procedures to reduce the incidence of C. difficile at Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, a facility that had experienced repeated outbreaks of the germ.

During the study, a cleaning protocol was instituted to include the:

  • Use of florescent markings to identify and monitor high-traffic and high-touch areas
  • Implementation of a device delivering ultraviolet radiation to reduce germ counts
  • Development and use of enhanced cleaning techniques by trained personnel, including use of bleach

Before and after the disinfection of each room, cultures were taken to determine the number of C. difficile bacilli present. The study reported a significant reduction in C. difficile numbers:

  • The use of florescent markers to identify and monitor cleaning reduced positive C. difficilecultures by 57 percent.
  • The ultraviolent radiation reduced occurrence to 35 percent.
  • The enhanced cleaning after the above two measures further reduced positive cultures to just seven percent.

The results of this study provide hope for future control of this dangerous germ in healthcare settings across the country. If you are injured while trying to heal, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit.