The Safe Patient Project

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It's just nasty: an estimated 1.7 million people in the US go to a hospital to get well but wind up getting a brand new infection. For almost 100,000 of those people, it will be the last infection they ever get.

This makes the March 2010 issue of Consumer Reports a must-have for all cancer patients and their loved ones because of its examination of the harm done by infections arising from a central line.

It's more common than most of us imagine, and the consequences can range from weeks of discomfort, antibiotics and inconvenience, all the way to death.

PROTECTING US FROM BAD HOSPITALS

"When physicians provide poor quality care, their patients are typically the last to know."
Safe Patient Project

Consumer Union's Safe Patient Project advocates full disclosure from hospitals and doctors concerning patient outcomes so that we as patients can look at a hospital's record of infection rates, medical mistakes, and quality of care and decide for ourselves whether we want to go there or not. This should also give hospitals the incentive to improve their record. Right now, less than half of all US states require hospitals to report infection rates.

SPP

The Safe Patient Project addresses four issues:
Doctor Accountability
Drug Safety
Hospital-Acquired Infections
Medical Errors

Check them out. If you live in the US you can access information about your state through the Safe Patient Project's topics page.

THE CHECKLIST OF DR. PETER PROVONOST

Finally, the Consumer Reports article includes a checklist created by Dr. Peter Provonost that, when followed, has been shown to eliminate any risk of central line infections. I've taken the copyright-infringing liberty of reproducing it here for the greater good. Click on the image to make it larger and legible.

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By Ross Bonander

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