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North Carolina hospital wants bacteria-fighting policy to spread

Patients don't check in to North Carolina hospitals expecting their conditions to get worse after receiving the proper treatment or surgery they may need. Quality health care and patient safety are expected to be top priorities for hospitals and medical professionals.

One simple way Fayetteville hospitals and other facilities throughout the entire U.S. can continue to work on increasing patient safety is to develop, revise and enforce standard policies and procedures that are aimed at reducing hospital infections. As sanitary and efficient as many hospitals and staff members are, bacterial infections resulting from hospital negligence are widespread.

Unfortunately, when a patient does contract an infection while receiving treatment at a hospital, the patient could be at risk of suffering serious or fatal complications. Although a patient who is harmed by a hospital-caused bacterial infection may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim for negligence, the patient's life might never be the same.

To try to reduce the occurrence of hospital infections, Duke Raleigh Hospital has been instituting new safety procedures over the last two years and the hospital's efforts seem to be working. The program started with a list designed by an ICU nurse of nearly 90 recommendations to ramp up safety and curb the spread of bacteria.

Some of the practical ideas included having intensive care nurses wear gloves, gowns and masks as well as cleaning hands more frequently. The safety strategy also called for more sterile procedures for patients, including baths with antiseptics and whole-body cloth coverings.

Another suggestion that was put into use was consolidated placement of intravenous tubing, known as central line equipment. Infections caused by central line catheter tips can be difficult and expensive to cure. The tips of catheters -- which transport medications, fluids and possible bacteria -- are inserted in a patient's vein that pumps blood to the heart, the superior vena cava. The introduction of bacteria directly into the vein can cause serious, even deadly, health consequences.

Duke Raleigh has not had an instance of a central line-caused infection in more than 840 days, since the hospital began to take patient safety more seriously. The hospital's infection-fighting approach is one the staff would like to see used at other North Carolina medical facilities in order to increase patient safety.

Source: WRAL.com, "Procedure changes help Raleigh hospital avoid bacterial infections," Allen Mask, M.D., June 1, 2012

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North Carolina hospital wants bacteria-fighting policy to spread | Britton Law, P.A.