Leaked Hospital report causes ‘unjustified’ panic

Report on infections in Haifa hospitals leads to MK condemnation of excessive rates” of infections.

Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv 311 (R) (photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv 311 (R)
(photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
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 infrastructure.
“It musn’t be that patients in intensive care – the most infected units – have only a thin curtain separating them.
Many patients 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.
But 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 said.
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 future.
“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 clear.
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.

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