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Hospital-acquired infections -- Inevitable?

In a press conference held earlier today at Washington D.C.'s The Press Club, David B. Nash, MD, editor of The American Journal of Medical Quality, addressed hospital-acquired infections and the widespread anchoring belief ?by both healthcare professionals and patients ?that acquiring infections in the hospital is unavoidable.

This concern is addressed in a special supplement to the November issue of The American Journal of Medical Quality, which is published by SAGE Publications on behalf of the American College of Medical Quality.

The data seems to bear out the pervasive belief. In 2004, Pennsylvania's general acute care hospitals reported nearly 12,000 hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). These were associated with over 1,500 additional deaths, 205,000 additional hospital days, and nearly $2 billion in extra hospital charges. While many healthcare professionals believe that HAI are a risk of doing business, the AJMQ supplement demonstrates that the belief itself may add to the risk and it's actually the process of care that drives the current epidemic.

"Despite all of our hard work, medical care can never be error free," commented Dr. Nash about the widespread beliefs about HAI. "What we must strive for is care that is harm free. Changing our mindset will go a long way toward restoring the faith of the public and improving the overall quality of medical care in the United States."

"I sincerely hope that this special supplement to the American Journal of Medical Quality will help us to obtain this worthy goal," Dr. Nash added. The supplement can be accessed by visiting The American Journal of Medical Quality website at


Source:SAGE Publications

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