Often the words of a concerned family member capture the experience of infection control far better than any researcher or specialist. We read with great sympathy a recent letter to the editor of the Buffalo News by a man whose mother is fighting an infection she may have contracted during a hospital stay. The comments below the online post are full of personal stories that reveal that most, if not all of us, have personal stories having to do with a loved one contracting an infection from a healthcare setting.
Just yesterday, I had lunch with a friend whose father is fighting VAP, ventilator-associated pneumonia, while in rehab for a spinal injury. When she told me about him, her shrug spoke volumes: His infection, she believed, was inevitable. An assumption. Unavoidable. Just part of being in rehab. I have had those same feelings; my father also contracted VAP in addition to MRSA while in a rehab facility, preventing his admission to a long-term care facility. Other colleagues have tragic stories as well, and we hear countless others from individuals all over the country. As the author of that letter to the editor, Chris Henry, writes, "If this is the wave of the future, hospitals must change their model." We can no longer approach hospital acquired infections as inevitable, unavoidable and unchangeable. As part of a company leading the way in innovative, preventive, biocidal surfaces. I now know that infection in a healthcare facility is by no means unavoidable.
We must look at solutions that are practical, effective, and long-term. Infection control efforts are making great strides with hand hygiene and equipment protocols, but new technologies must be seen as a worthy investment that saves dollars and lives. The costs associated with hospital acquired infections are astronomical, and the cost in lives is irreplaceable.