Johns Hopkins' study documents thousands of avoidable hospital deaths, annually
The Washington Post published an article in July, outlining the findings from a study lead by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. It found that an estimated 80,000 patients each year develop catheter-related bloodstream infections, killing nearly half of them. The study noted that these infections can be virtually eliminated if hospital employees follow these simple steps: wash hands with soap; clean patient's skin with antiseptic; place sterile drape over patients; wear sterile mask, hat, gown and gloves; and place a sterile dressing over the catheter site. The Federal government funded a study in Michigan ICUs arising out of the initial Johns Hopkins' research. It demonstrated that these infections could be (and were) reduced by two-thirds, simply by emphasizing the above low-tech measures. It also demonstrated health care savings of $200 million dollars (since treating an infection costs about $33,000.00 per patient) and saved the lives of 1500 patients during the study period.