Just how big a problem are hospital-acquired infections? Bigger than 94% of hospitals want to admit.
According to Consumer Reports (October 2015), “U.S. hospitals have turned into breeding grounds for infections that kill tens of thousands of people per year.”
The magazine’s latest hospital ratings reveal that only 6% of hospitals score well at preventing the spread of deadly infectious bugs that commonly kill patients. In other words, 94% of hospitals fail, to varying extents.
What can you as a patient do to reduce your risk of hospital-acquired infection? Be obsessive about cleaning and disinfecting. Consumer Reports advises: “Take bleach wipes for bed rails, doorknobs, and the TV remote. Insist that everyone who enters your room wash his or her hands.”
Also, be obsessive about avoiding the need to be hospitalized, to the extent that you can. You obviously can’t eliminate all risks. You never know when you could suffer broken bones from a freak accident (unless you stay locked up in a padded room all day). And you certainly shouldn’t avoid necessary surgeries.
On the other hand, a well-equipped first-aid kit can sometimes avert a trip to the emergency room. A well-balanced diet and regular exercise can often avert the need for heart surgery down the road.
Avoiding the threat of a horrible hospital infection is just one more reason why medical self-reliance skills and healthy lifestyle habits are worth acquiring and practicing.