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Many South Florida hospitals fail CDC infection-control standards

Most people think of hospitals as places of health and healing. No one expects to leave the hospital in worse health than when they arrived. Unfortunately, this is the reality for about one in every 25 patients; the number of patients who contract a hospital-acquired infection. In fact, about 750,000 Americans are killed each year by diseases they got while receiving health care.

Such statistics are tracked by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some recent data show a trend that should concern South Floridians. According to CDC data from last year, more than 40 percent of hospitals in South Florida failed to meet national standards for preventing common infections.

The CDC continually compiles data from more than 3,300 hospitals nationwide, including 32 hospitals in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties. The ratings were based how well each hospital controls for six types of the most common healthcare-associated infections.

Of the 32 hospitals studied in South Florida, 13 "failed to meet national benchmarks in at least one infection category," according to an article in the Miami Herald. That translates to about a 41 percent deficiency rate. One of these hospitals, North Shore Medical Center in Miami, was also among the lowest-ranked hospitals nationwide. The upside to the data is that "56 percent of local hospitals performed better than expected in controlling infections."

To some extent, hospital-acquired infections will always be a risk. Hospitals are buildings with a high concentration of sick people, many of whom also have compromised immune systems. That being said, hospitals and other healthcare facilities have a duty to lower infection risks as much as possible.

Before you go in for your next hospital visit, you may want to familiarize yourself with Florida hospital rankings related to infection prevention. And if you or a loved one suffered serious injury (or worse) as the result of a hospital-acquired infection, you may want to discuss your case with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Source: Miami Herald, "Nearly half of South Florida hospitals below CDC standards on infections," Nicholas Nehamas, Jan. 12, 2015

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