Keeping Hospital Patients Safer


As an infectious
disease specialist, I’ve seen what no
doctor wants to see. In some cases, medical care was
actually hurting my patients more than it was helping them. As I watch my patients develop
infections that I couldn’t treat with even the most
powerful antibiotics, I decided to dedicate my career
to helping solve this problem. Specifically, I want to help
hospitals stamp out infections and ensure that antibiotics
are always used right. Because the unfortunate
reality is that, in some senses, our healthcare system
is designed to fail. Clinicians don’t always
follow recommendations when they care for patients. And we don’t always
communicate effectively with our patients
or with each other. Hospitals don’t always
monitor and report information on infections and
antibiotic use. And antibiotics are given to way too many people
who don’t need them. And even when they’re given
for the right reasons, we give them sometimes
at the wrong dose or for the wrong amount of time. It doesn’t have to be this way. We know a lot about the steps that we can take to
provide safe care. And many of these steps are
relatively simple-putting in catheters properly and
taking them out right away when we don’t need them anymore;
doing antibiotic time-outs to double-check prescriptions;
and of course, ensuring our hands
are clean, every time, before we care for our patients. The good news is that
providing safe care is starting to get the attention it deserves and we’re starting
to see progress. Clinicians are finding
new ways to ensure that recommendations
are followed for every patient, every time. Hospitals are doing more to monitor infections
and antibiotic use. And patients are
becoming empowered to get engaged in their care. But we have to do more and
we have to do it faster, because the truth
is that every day, our patients get antibiotics
they don’t need and infections that we could have prevented. I became a doctor to
make people better. I came to CDC to keep them from
getting sick in the first place.

2 thoughts on “Keeping Hospital Patients Safer

  1. From working in healthcare and the local hospitals, I have seen the seemingly untreatable infections can be.  And especially once someone comes into a hospital their risk of infections increases incredibly.

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