Consumers Union: 18% of Americans have had a hospital infection in self or family

Constant readers: You may not be aware that Consumers Union (yes, the nonprofit that publishes the magazine Consumer Reports) has a marvelous project called Stop Hospital Infections that has been instrumental in pushing for hospital-infection reporting and MRSA-control laws, offering support to citizen activists who want change in their states and offering text of a model MRSA-control act. (Stop Hospital Infections is in the blogroll at right.)

They have just released a survey — of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, performed March 12-16, 2009 — that gives us an excellent, and very sobering, look at what is happening with hospital-acquired infections. The news is not good:

  • 18% reported that they or an immediate family member had acquired an infection owing to a hospital stay or other medical procedure.
  • 61% of those who acquired an infection said it was “severe” and 35% characterized it as “life-threatening.”
  • The risk of an infection increased 45% if a patient spent the night in the hospital.
  • 53% of Americans polled said these infections required additional out of pocket expenses to treat the infection.
  • 69% had to be admitted to a hospital or extend their stay because of the infection.

The press release describing the poll — undertaken with the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association in advance of a Congressional briefing on healthcare reform — is here. The full results of the poll are here.


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