People come to hospitals for treatment, but one person in 20 catches an infection there. At least in the Czech Republic. The overall European average is one in 14, according to recently-released European statistics.
Research shows that the so-called hospital infections are most common in Spain, where they strike down every tenth patient.
One in 100 dies
The European average is 7%. Czechs with their 150,000 “newly infected” (5% to 7%) are therefore in the “better half”.
“Still these infections are responsible for the same number of victims as traffic accidents,” said Vlastimil Jindrák from Na Homolce Hospital on Tuesday. In all of Europe almost one hundredth of those who catch an infection dies. Altogether it makes for 37,000 dead per year.
However, statistics recorded another figure that is alarming: high expenses that are paid to fight these infections. Curing these infections costs some CZK 112 billion in the EU per year. The Czech healthcare system could operate half a year for this price.
Prevention by one third
Also the EU has started dealing with the topic of hospital infections due to the alarming numbers. Experts dealing with these issues were to meet on Wednesday at an international conference in Prague.
For example in the United States several researches were conducted in an attempt to find at least a partial way to prevent hospital infections. Reportedy, about one third of all cases can be prevented. Prevention works best in case of urinary tract infections, bloodstream infection and surgical site infections.
On the other hand, pneumonia that usually starts as a consequence of a treatment of a different disease, can be prevented with difficulties
Prevention in many cases looks like a collection of banal precautions. “The most important is that the hospital staff wash and disinfect their hands,” according to the website of the Czech Health Ministry.
This seemingly obvious thing is often neglected in the bustle of hospital operation. Sometimes the staff visiting patients at departments like intensive care wear the same clothes as in the less isolated departments of hospital, although visitors to the intensive care department should be wearing doctors’ coats and shoes.
That is also why it can be said that unwashed hands or gloves for one use that are used more often will make patient’s stay in hospital by one week longer.
Moreover, treating infections usually requires the use of antibiotics, which worsens another problem that the Prague conference is dealing with: growing resistance of Europeans to the medical effects of antibiotics.
This type of medicament is prescribed more often than necessary, according to statistics. According to data from the Health Ministry, up to one half of antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly. This costs the state budget about CZK 1 billion a year.
A similar situation exists in other European countries. Only Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands have, on average, a lower consumption of antibiotics.
Infections in numbers
– 150,000 people are infected with a hospital infection in the Czech Republic each year.
– In the whole of EU there are over 4 million infected, their treatment costs EUR 4.5 billion annually.
– Infections make patient’s stay in hospital by one week longer on average.
– One third of infections can be prevented by stricter observance of sanitary rules and disinfection.