Sunday, December 30, 2007

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

A year ago, researchers at Johns Hopkins University published the results of a program that instituted in nearly every intensive care unit in Michigan a simple five-step checklist designed to prevent certain hospital infections. It reminds doctors to make sure, for example, that before putting large intravenous lines into patients, they actually wash their hands and don a sterile gown and gloves.

The results were stunning. Within three months, the rate of bloodstream infections from these I.V. lines fell by two-thirds. The average I.C.U. cut its infection rate from 4 percent to zero. Over 18 months, the program saved more than 1,500 lives and nearly $200 million.

Yet this past month, the Office for Human Research Protections shut the program down.

Find out why here.

1 comment:

Karyn said...

Health care is increasingly complex and fast-paced. It is interesting to me that something simple like washing hands is STILL not being done frequently enough to prevent infections. That just goes to show how fast-paced and complex hospital patient care is. In order to give quality care there must be guidelines, checklists or what we use in my hospital: rubrics. But how can these sytematic rubrics be developed without analyzing how they worked in real situations and what would work better next time. Scientific advances in medicine occur because of smart, forward-thinking people who implement studies like these. It is crazy to think that this will not stop because of "permission" issues.