• Infections at Hospitals Put Patients' Lives in Jeopardy
  • June 10, 2013 | Author: Fabrice N. Vincent
  • Law Firm: Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP - San Francisco Office
  • One hundred thousand people die from preventable infections and/or errors in hospitals every year, with hospitals spending more than $30 billion on avoidable medical errors. These preventable deaths are caused by many factors, one of which is as simple as hand-washing - a method that helps eliminate potential risk of infections.

    Studies have shown that hospital employees wash their hands as little as 30% of the time when interacting with patients.

    On March 8, 2013, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on a growing number of untreatable or difficult-to-treat organisms found in both common communities and medical settings in the U.S.

    In response, The New York Times reports, hospitals have developed methods to monitor and motivate staff workers to wash their hands, including Big Brother-like camera monitoring, training hand-washing coaches, and badges that vibrate as a hand-washing reminder.

    Hospitals have even created both positive reinforcement and/or punishment systems that either reward employees with cash, gift certificates, and badges for washing their hands, or hand out “red cards” to those who do not wash their hands.

    The federal government has also stepped in and created a new rule that deducts Medicare reimbursement amounts when patients acquire preventable infections.