Barbara Dunn of Healthcare Association Infections Watch kindly sent me information about the very real worldwide problem of infections acquired in healthcare facilities. In 2002, 98,987 deaths were reported from such infections. Some were from ventilators, some from lack of handwashing, and some occurred at surgical sites. It is reported that 1.4 million individuals now suffer from hospital acquired infections and the cost to healthcare facilities is 6.7 billion dollars. The HAI Watch Web site has excellent information and can be accessed at http://haiwatchnews.com .
With the present world-wide epidemic of swine flu, everyone should be more conscious of washing their hands and teaching children to wash their hands after using the bathroom and before eating. I am always amazed when I am in a public restroom and see individuals walk out without washing their hands. When this occurs in a hospital, there is even more reason for concern. I've also seen parents pick up a pacifier or toy that has fallen in the street or on the ground and hand it to a little child who immediately puts it in his or her mouth. We cannot expect antibiotics to keep clearing up infections when there is a growing resistance to many of these. We all need to more aware of what causes infections and what each of us can do.