A recent report by CNN underscores the scary reality of hospital acquired infections. Many people are surprised to learn just how prevalent these infections are, especially among young children. Hospital patients are vulnerable to infections because they often have compromised natural defenses due to illness and medications. In addition, surgical wounds make for easy access points for infectious bacteria. Experts say many of these infections are preventable if proper safety measures are taken.
The Oregon Patient Safety Commission puts out a report each year summarizing patient safety efforts at Oregon hospitals. While hospital acquired infections continue to be the biggest safety issue, other problems include surgical mishaps where foreign objects are left inside patients following surgery and even incidents where doctors operate on the wrong body part. The prevailing message from experts in the hospital safety field is that patients must be aware of these risks and address them and any other concerns with medical staff. Communication, they say, is the best preventative tool.