One of a series of ongoing reports on infections from resistant bacteria in
general hospitals caused a media uproar on Tuesday when it was apparently leaked
to an Internet journalist without explanation of its context, and induced at
least one government hospital to defend itself.
A number of MKs attacked
the hospital system for the “excessive rates” of infections.
The report –
which did not name the hospitals that allegedly had higher infection rates but
did focus on the Haifa area – was discussed at the Knesset Labor, Welfare and
Health Committee. From the report itself, which was full of graphs and
statistics, it could not be determined how many patients had been admitted to
the hospitals with antibioticresistant infections and how many were nosocomial
infections (those that develop inside hospitals because of crowded conditions
and lack of handwashing).
Acting committee chairwoman Rachel Adatto – who
is a gynecologist by training and a former senior hospital director – said that
the main cause for hospital infections is the lack of resources and proper
“It musn’t be that patients in intensive care – the most
infected units – have only a thin curtain separating them.
come to hospitals when they carry infections from the community and oldage
homes. But at the same time, there stands the right of the public to know about
the levels of infections in hospitals where they are about to be admitted or
receive treatment,” Adatto said.
After the report was leaked prematurely
to a reporter, presented to the MKs and then released to the press in general,
it appeared that the three general hospitals in Haifa – Rambam, Carmel and Bnei
Zion – had the highest rate of such resistant-bacteria infections.
the names of the hospitals were not given in the report.
Channel 10 news
and weather presenter Danny Roup told the committee that since his father died,
reportedly of a nosocomial infection in a major hospital, “people have stopped
asking me what the weather will be.
Instead, they tell me of cases in
which loved ones died of hospital infections. It was ridiculous that a ward
neighbor of my father who came to visit a relative entered my father’s room so
easily, without any masks or gowns, and freely leaned over him. The doctors told
me: ‘There’s nothing we can do about it.
The bacteria are everywhere,
even in the light fixture and the air conditioner.
“It seems to me that
anyone in intensive care has little chance of coming out alive,” Roup
All the country’s hospitals struggle with resistant bacteria,” said
the Rambam Medical Center spokesman in a hurried reaction. “The phenomenon has
existed for a number of years, and, unfortunately, it will occur in the
“The klebsiella bacteria mentioned in the report is only one of
the resistant pathogens. Rambam reports on an ongoing basis in a transparent and
full way about the amount of bacterial infections, based on independent and
systematic data. Haifa has a higher rate, but the cause is not yet
It may be because of the large number of geriatric hospitals for
the chronically ill in the area, but this deserves in-depth research,” said the
Rambam spokesman, who added that staffers are involved in an ongoing effort to
reduce nosocomial infections.
The spokeswoman of the Health Ministry,
which owns both Rambam and Bnei Zion, said that the report, without identifying
hospitals, summarizes the prevalence of 10 kinds of resistant bacterial
infections around the country.
“In nine of them, there is no separation
between those acquired in the hospitals and those for which patients were
hospitalized. This report was meant for [ministry and hospital] assessment of
trends and improved monitoring. It was not meant for rating hospitals as to
their infections and is unable to serve as a risk-assessment tool for the
individual patient,” the spokeswoman said.
Dr. Mitchell Schwaber, a
senior epidemiologist and head of the ministry’s National Center for Infection
Control, told The Jerusalem Post the report was not the latest to be produced
but was a summary for 2011.
But his office also produces monthly reports.