Clear Lake hospital takes hit over infections
A Consumer Reports study found Clear Lake Regional Medical Center had the worst bloodstream infection rates in the Houston area.
None of the local hospitals studied were free of infection, but Consumer Reports said the central-line infection rate in the Clear Lake hospital's intensive care units was 81 percent higher than the national average.
Consumer Reports explained why medical experts worry about central lines, which are IV catheters used to quickly deliver medications, blood and fluids to patients in intensive care:
"These so-called central-line infections account for 15 percent of all hospital infections but are responsible for at least 30 percent of the 99,000 annual hospital-infection-related deaths, according to the best estimates available."
In a statement released by HCA's Gulf Coast Division today, the hospital chain that owns Clear Lake Regional Medical Center said that since 2008 -- the year of the stats used by Consumer Reports -- its hospitals have made several changes to improve safety, including:
Infection-prevention training for ICU staff.
Baths in a disinfectant for many ICU patients to decrease skin bacteria that can cause infections.
Hand sanitizers placed throughout the hospital.
The addition of an infection prevention specialist responsible for eliminating possible infection sources.
Reminders in the form of posters, screen savers and lectures for doctors, employees and volunteers.
Saying it's still working to implement the most current recommendations to prevent bloodstream infections, HCA's Gulf Coast Division noted that all its hospitals voluntarily report "quality data to provide complete transparency."
Read Consumer Reports' news release on Houston hospitals.
Read more from Consumer Reports.
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