In Friday's USA Today, there was an editorial about hospital acquired infections based on an interview with the former head of the CDC's Infection Division. William Jarvis makes it out to be that hospitals are sitting idly by, infecting everyone who comes through the door. There is no doubt that hospitals can be dangerous places, especially for infections. But to say that we are failing to address these issues is ridiculous. Never before in the history of health care and medicine have hospitals done more to address infections. The widespread use of antibiotics, which allows the good bacteria that keeps C-Diff under control, is being addressed in every hospital, every day. In addition, WMHS and hospitals across the country have stepped up hand washing and facility cleaning tenfold to stop the spread of infection. Have we eliminated infection, no, but we have stepped up infection control like never before.
The editorial states that this is the most important issue facing hospitals today and that it should be virtually our only focus. Well the good news is that it is a primary focus, along with a hundred other "most important" issues facing today's hospitals. We are faced with preventing ALL potential complications, eliminating medical errors, keeping our patients safe, reducing readmissions, increasing patient satisfaction, covering specialty call in our EDs, keeping our hospitals functioning effectively 24/7 as competing 9 to 5 centers "skim the cream,” continuing to recruit and retain specialists and sub-specialists, maintaining our financial viability in a financially challenging environment and the list goes on and on. As I heard on a TV program last night, "it is obvious that you have never worked in a hospital." That is the obvious statement for Dr. Jarvis and USA Today's editor.