Monday, June 06, 2005


Another Reason to Avoid Hospitals and Surgery: MRSA (or why people get sick IN the hospital)

If you haven't yet read it, be sure to check out Betsy McCaughey's New York Times article (6/6/06) titled "Coming Clean." (you may have to register with the Times to read it, but registration is still free until September). Among its highlights:

• Poor hygiene in many U.S. hospitals means that 1 of 20 people who enter a hospital end up with an infection during their hospital stay.

• Hospital infections kill about 103,000 a year in the U.S. -- same as AIDS, breast cancer and car crashes combined.

• One of the newest "bugs" causing problems is MRSA -- short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which now causes about 60% of staph infections, up from only 2% just 30 years ago. Not only is MRSA more prevalent, it also can cause truly severe infections, according to McCaughey (she's a former lieutenant governor of New York and now heads the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths.

Studies have shown that strict handwashing, meticulous cleaning and sterilization procedures can reduce or elimiante most germs, including MRSA, but many U.S. hospital simply don't have the will or the resources to be bothered -- and the public isn't speaking up.

And guess who's not supporting a public demand that hospital infection rates be made public? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

So think about THAT if your doctor recommends surgery....

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