Infections Rates High at NYU Langone Medical Center

A recent Consumer Report study revealed that NYU Langone Medical Center—among other hospitals—is performing poorly in how it keeps i<"">ntensive care unit (ICU) infection levels down, reports NYU News. Langone was identified as having one of the highest infection rates of ICUs in Manhattan at a whopping 116 percent worse than the national average for infections in ICUs, said NYU News.

The study found that Langone had 39 infections out of 10,119 central-line days in 2008, a figure that is over double the amount of the national average, said NYU News, which explained that a central-line is the plastic tube that assists in the delivery of critical antibiotics and fluids to the body. Central-line days, noted NYU News, represent the “combined total days in which a patient is connected to the tubes.”

Dr. Michael Phillips, a Langone epidemiologist, argued that the facility immediately responded by implementing training for all doctors and nurses on new IV connectors and how to better insert and maintain central-lines, said NYU News. The infection rate did drop in last year’s first quarter, to below the state average, according to Phillips, said NYU News. Not everyone was impressed. Omar Mata, a pre-med track CAS freshman was quoted as saying, reported NYU News, “It’s really a top hospital,” Mata said. “It’s bad that they have so much money, but they can’t keep it bacteria free.”

The issue of hospital-acquired infections is nothing new. We recently wrote that a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that Acinetobacter—a very resistant bacterium—appears to be thriving in hospitals nationwide, according to Business Week. Looking at data (1999-2006) from 300 hospitals across the country, the researchers saw an excess of a 300-percent increase in cases of Acinetobacter resistant to Primaxin (generic: Imipenem). Acinetobactor is generally found in patients being treated in the intensive care units of hospitals and often results in significant “pneumonias or bloodstream infections,” said Business Week, adding that the infections are not always cured with the most powerful of antibiotics.

Also, the community-acquired strain of the deadly Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) pathogen is presenting larger health issues than first believed, reported Science Daily recently. MRSA is a bacterium that can cause serious infection and is resistant to most antibiotics and the meticillin class of antibiotics.

MRSA now has two main strains including the traditional, hospital-acquired MRSA (HA-MRSA), which, said eFluxMedia in an earlier report, is more dangerous due to its overwhelming antibiotic resistance. A recent study looked at information from over 300 microbiology labs serving hospitals nationwide, and found a seven-fold increase in the proportion of Community-Acquired MRSA in outpatient hospitals from 1999 to 2006, said Science Daily. The team said the increase poses a threat to patient safety since physicians tend to work between hospital inpatient and outpatient areas.

About 100,000 cases of invasive MRSA occur annually in the United States according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and, shockingly, most infections occur in hospitals and other health-care settings. According to research conducted at McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Canada, over 20 percent of its MRSA patients were dead within one year. In the U.S. MRSA kills some 20,000 people annually, said Science Daily. According to 2005 CDC figures, nearly 19,000 people died in the U.S. from MRSA infections; 94,000 were seriously sickened.

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