Are Our Hospitals Making People Sicker?

Sahar Aker

When life sends us to the hospital, the last thing we hope to achieve there is getting sicker or less healthy than we already are!

Imagine losing an enormous amount of weight -- 400 pounds! -- and feeling accomplished and healthier than ever. Must feel fantastic, right? Well, it should. Unless you have to then go into the hospital for a weight-loss-related surgery, and you wind up with a friggin' hospital infection that almost kills you.

That's what happened to one Texan woman. After finally losing 400 pounds and feeling healthy, the woman checked into the hospital for a surgery to remove 50 pounds of excess skin left over from the weight loss. While hospitalized, the poor woman got a near-deadly case of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA -- the horribly difficult-to-treat staph infection that is resistant to the antibiotics that you normally take to get rid of staph bacteria.

Doesn't that make you livid? You go to the hospital to get well, not to get sick. I mean, who sits around thinking it would be great to leave the hospital feeling worse than you did when you got admitted?  

It's absolutely unacceptable, especially because, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the main way MRSA spreads in hospitals is through healthcare workers' dirty hands touching patients. The hands of doctors, nurses, etc. get contaminated when they have contact with a patient who has MRSA. Then if they don't wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, they can spread those germs to you. How comforting.

So, if you work with patients, enough already. Wash your friggin' hands! Don't skimp. Don't take a chance. Don't make any excuses. MRSA is obviously still a life-threatening problem. And I don't want the next stop after the hospital bed to be my death bed. 

Have you ever left the hospital worse off than you went in?


Image via Junior Wisdom/Flickr

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