Consumer Group Seeks New Federal Law to Help Stop Hospital Infections
March 3, 2009
Consumers Union, a nonprofit consumer activist group, has initiated a “Stop Hospital Infections” campaign, which is pushing for legislation to create a national hospital infection reporting law. The proposed federal law would require hospitals to report the rate at which patients develop infections during treatment at their facilities and, according to Consumers Union, would dramatically reduce hospital infection rates.
Statistics from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that up to 2 million patients develop a variety of infections while being treated in hospitals each year and almost 100,000 of them die. Infections add billions of dollars to health-care bills every year because patients who acquire them need extra care and often require more days in the hospital.
If hospitals consistently followed proven infection-control practices, such as hand washing, most infections could be prevented. In fact, in Finland and the Netherlands, MRSA infection rates were reduced significantly through strict hand hygiene, screening incoming patients for the bacteria, and taking precautions such as isolating those found to be carrying MRSA. But studies have documented that fewer than 50 percent of hospitals follow hand-hygiene standards. Moreover, a 2006 survey of infection-control professionals found that only 28 percent of U.S. hospitals screen for MRSA.
Most consumers have no idea what their local hospital’s infection rate is, but thanks to Consumers Union, that is changing. To date, Consumers Union has helped pass laws in 20 states requiring hospitals to disclose how many of their patients develop infections.
Legislation to create a national infection reporting law was introduced to Congress in 2007 by lead sponsors Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. Consumers Union supports those efforts to improve patient care nationally and reduce needless infections and death.
Antibiotics for Infections & Serious Side Effects
Another problem that exacerbates the national hospital infection concern is the link between certain antibiotics and serious side effects. For example, Levaquin, an antibiotic used to treat various types of bacterial infections, may cause some patients to develop tendon ruptures, or even a life-threatening skin condition called toxic epidermal necrosis.
Levaquin Injury Attorney
If you or a family member took Levaquin to treat an infection and experienced a serious side effect, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact a Levaquin side effects attorney for a free and confidential case evaluation.