247 Hospital Patients Die Daily Due to Doctor’s Not Washing their Hands

If I were in the hospital, I would make sure to have a waterless hand sanitizer made with essential oils in a pump by my bed.

Over the last 30 years, despite countless efforts at change, poor hand and clothing hygiene has continued to contribute to the high rates of infections acquired in hospitals, clinics and other health care settings. According to the World Health Organization, these infections affect as many as 1.7 million patients in the United States each year, racking up an annual cost of $6.5 billion and contributing to more than 90,000 deaths annually.  That is the equivalent of  a jumbo jet crashing every two days or 30 World Trade Center explosions annually.

In an operating room there is a culture of handwashing, of preventing contamination.  This seems to stop at the operating room door.  Only 50% of patient contacts on average involve handwashing.  At a time where drug resistant staph infections are endemic, it is essential that doctors, nurses and other personnel wash their hands.

Antibacterial soaps with triclosan may worsen the problem by killing off protective bacteria while creating resistance to the chemical in the dangerous bacteria.  Using copious soap and water, lathering between the fingers and under the nails and protecting the hands from doorknobs and other common sites of infection do a better job than using antibacterial soaps.

247 Americans Die Every Day from Doctors not Washing Their Hands

247 Americans Die Every Day from Doctors not Washing Their Hands

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) A study commissioned by the lead hospital accrediting agency in the United States found that doctors and nurses fail to wash their hands with alarming frequency, contributing to the 247 deaths caused each day by preventable hospital infections.

The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities, has joined with eight major hospitals to address low hand washing rates nationwide. The program began in the spring, when the hospitals conducted rigorous assessments of hand washing compliance among their staff. They found that doctors and nurses washed their hands only 30 to 70 percent of the time that they entered or exited a patient’s room, averaging 50 percent.

Hand washing upon entering and exiting a room is a key part of the Joint Commission accreditation requirements and has been recommended by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Hospitals or other facilities cited for more than two violations must be cited.

The hospitals then assessed what obstacles were preventing health care providers from adequately washing their hands. In some cases, the problems were logistical and easy to fix by means such as moving hand washing stations to more convenient locations or adding stands where workers could put down objects they might be carrying. In other cases, problems seem to stem from an attitude of impunity and are harder to fix.

“Certainly there are some individuals who believe they are above the law,” Joint Commission President Mark Chassin said, “and their peers and others are reluctant to call their omissions to their attention.”

Hospitals have tried to address these problems through techniques such as constant monitoring and reorganizations of hospital hierarchies.

“It seems really simple, but even this one turns out to be complicated,” Chassin said.

Since the implementation of corrective strategies, hand washing compliance at the participating hospitals has risen to 74 percent, still short of the long-term goal of 90 percent.

“The acid test is sustainability,” Chassin said. “They want to be above 90 percent all the time, consistently with no variation.”

Sources for this story include: www.sfgate.com; prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com.

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See Also:
How to Make Your Own Waterless Hand Sanitizer

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