New York Hospital Infection Rates Rise

Armen Hareyan's picture

New York Department of Health has released rates of hospital acquired infections, but did not mention hospital names at all.

In 2005 a legislation was approved requiring all hospitals to publish infection rates. This was done to make hospital acquired infection rates transparent for public and to reduce the number of such cases.


Three years after the legislation passed, New York Department of Health finally released hospital infection rates showing that cases are on a rise in surgical intensive care units. Current rate is 3.7 cases out of 1000, while national average rate is 2.7 cases out of 1000. However, infection rates in pediatric and coronary units were lower than national average.

This report did not mention any hospital names, it just gave an average picture of hospital acquired infections. However, it says that rates are significantly lower in New York City hospitals, probably because a project named Greater New York Hospital Association and United Hospital Fund dis a lot in 2006 to cut infection rates.

From now on Department of Health aims at releasing similar data every year for each hospital separately. It is extremely important to monitor and report hospital infection rates carefully and also to find out risk factors tor such infection. Identifying risk factors is the key to preventing such infections. Current measures against hospital infections include good hand washing, equipment sterilization, and personal hygiene.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, in 2002 there were about 1.7 million cases of hospital infection, leading to 99000 death cases associated with such infections. People are going to hospitals for cure and recovering, not for getting new infections. This is why government aims at reducing hospital acquired infection rates and making the statistics of such cases available for public.



Doug Kohl Sierra Communications 209-586-5887 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Doug Kohl Sierra Communications 209) 586-5887 [email protected] Landmark study leads to concern over the safety and cleanliness of MRIs HAYWARD, California — August 20th, 2008 —Peter Rothschild, M.D., renowned Radiologist and MRI expert, has released the ground-breaking paper, recently published on, titled “Preventing Infection in MRI: Best Practices for Infection Control in and Around MRI Suites.” This article expands on the issue that MRIs are often not being properly cleaned, thus leading to concern over Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) spread during radiological scans, in particular MRI. MRSA was originally identified in 1961 and is now widespread throughout healthcare facilities, both hospital and outpatient settings. The most common source for transmission of MRSA is by direct or indirect contact with people who have MRSA infections or are asymptomatic carriers. A major concern for imaging centers is that MRSA can be carried by asymptomatic patients. Worldwide, it is estimated that up to 53 million people are asymptomatic carriers of MRSA. Of these it is estimated that 2.5 million reside in the United States. Approximately 1% of the U.S. population is colonized with MRSA. Both infected and colonized patients contaminate their environment with the same relative frequency. The morbidity and mortality of these bacteria is staggering. On average, hospitalizations for the treatment of MRSA versus other infections have a length of stay approximately three times longer and are three times more expensive. Additionally the risk of death is three to five times greater for patients infected with MRSA versus methicillin sensitive Staph infections. “Any patient lying on an imaging table could be a carrier capable of contaminating surfaces in the radiology suite,” said Peter Rothschild M.D. who is attempting to transform the MRI community’s attitude concerning infection control. He adds “MRSA and other pathogens can live on and in common MRI table pads and positioners for periods as long as several months.” Patients need to ask questions when they go to a hospital or imaging center for an MRI scan. What are the cleaning procedures? How old are the pads? Do the imaging technologists wash their hands between every patient? How do technologists disinfect the MRI table and pads? “At many MRI centers, there exists a false belief that merely placing a clean sheet over contaminated table pads, without actually cleaning them between patients, will somehow prevent the spread of infectious agents. What is most concerning is that very few MRI centers regularly clean their pads even once a day, much less between patients,” Dr. Rothschild continued. “Additionally, almost all pad sets I have seen in use that are over a few years old are torn or frayed and should have been discarded long ago. It is disgusting to see the terrible conditions of some of the pads that patients come in close contact with in these MRI centers. Old, torn and frayed pads are impossible to properly clean and are a breeding ground for bacteria.” To combat this potentially lethal public healthcare issue, Dr Rothschild has developed a technique for determining the safety of pads used in MRI. This technique involves using a magnifying glass to thoroughly examine all the seams for a tear or fraying and the use of a black light to check pads for biological contamination. However, few, if any, MRI centers have adopted these simple safety procedures. Dr Rothschild advises, “The best way I have found for patients to protect themselves is to ask to see the center’s written infection control policies before their scans, and visit the center. If there are no written policies I can assure you that infection control has a low priority at that MRI center and I would look for another MRI center where infection control was taken seriously.” Educating the public To request a copy of Dr. Rothschild’s white paper, entitled “Preventing Infections in MRI: Best practices for infection control in and around MRI,” please contact Doug Kohl, Sierra Communications, (209) 586-5887, or [email protected] About Peter Rothschild, MD Dr. Peter Rothschild is considered one of the world's foremost Open MRI experts. He formerly served as Medical Director of the research laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco, where he helped develop the first commercially available Open MRI scanner. He is the editor of the first textbook on Open MRI, authored numerous papers on the subject and is a sought after speaker who lectures on MRI and its future. Dr. Rothschild is a Board Certified Radiologist and served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Radiology at the University of California at San Francisco. He earned his MD degree in 1981 from the University of Louisville, in Louisville, Kentucky. He is founder and president of Patient Comfort Systems Inc., a company dedicated to patient comfort and safety. ###
It's not that hard to kill MRSA on inanimate surfaces. Most cleaner/disinfectants will do it. But you got to do the cleaning! Some disinfectant sprays have MRSA claims, but you can't disinfect dirt. The "black light" doesn't see microbes, but it may highlight certain soils that haven't been removed. The MRI equipment is just one of hundreds of opportunities for movement of infectious bacteria. Fortunately, most infectious bacteria don't survive very long on inanimate surfaces. But again, you got to do the cleaning! Gregory D. Pawelski