Hospital-Related Cases are on the Rise as Covid cases rise
Infections

Hospital-Related Cases are on the Rise as Covid cases rise Infections

Hospital-Related Cases are on the Rise as Covid cases rise
Infections
It took a decade to stop the spread of deadly pathogens within medical facilities. Infections are rising again due to overcrowding in Covid care.

Last month, a 46-year-old military veteran in Houston died of pancreatitis, an urgent but treatable condition, while waiting to be admitted to a hospital overwhelmed with unvaccinated Covid patients. Last week, the governor of Hawaii signed an executive order releasing the state’s hospitals from liability if they turn away sick patients because they have no room. On Monday, the Idaho state health department declared “crisis standards of care,” a triage system that allows hospitals with no spare beds to decide which patients they will accept.

Simultaneously, a Florida high school teacher went viral after describing how he took his 12-year-old to an emergency room that turned out to be overwhelmed with Covid patients. The child’s ruptured appendix, which could have been life-threatening, forced them to wait six hours. After five days at the hospital and a $5,000 initial bill, his son was able to survive.

Patients who couldn’t get to hospitals, stuck in waiting rooms or lingering on ambulances and life-flighted elsewhere where they might have an open bed, are all stories that this summer has been awful. Their health is at risk from overcrowding. Overcrowding poses an even more serious threat to patients already in hospital. It makes it difficult for staff to perform their duties and creates the conditions that enable dangerous infections to spread.

A new study based upon infection statistics in hospitals which faced the Covid outbreaks in 2020 has shown how serious that threat really is. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report last week in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. It found that hospitals have lost years of their progress in controlling hospital infections. In 2020, according to a federal registry that collects data from thousands of hospitals, urgent care centers, and outpatient facilities, there were sharp, consistent increases in bloodstream and urinary tract infections related to catheters and pneumonias caused by being put on ventilators–including infections caused by drug-resistant staph, better known as MRSA.

Health-care-associated infections, as they’re known, arise from a collision of factors. When patients are exposed to infection due to severe illness, such as a serious illness that weakens the immune system or when they have to stay in ICUs with other people who are sick, it can make them more vulnerable. Unwittingly, health care workers can transmit pathogens between patients. Lifesaving equipment like breathing tubes and catheters can allow these pathogens into the body.

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