Source: US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
The CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) (If you think we have too many governmental organizations now, just wait) has compiled its first (Yes, first) State-Specific Summary and Report on Healthcare-Associated Infections.
The results of the NHSN’s 18 page (including references) report are not entirely clear. However there are some interesting things which can be discerned from the Government-speak and statistical analysis. Between January of 2009 and June of 2009 (That’s 6 months) The State of New Jersey reported 72 central line-associated bloodstream infections from 100 different healthcare facilities in the state. The facilities are not specifically identified in the report. Neither do we know, for example, if 1 or 2 of those facilities accounted for the majority of the 72 blood stream infections from central-lines.
During the same time frame, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania reported 204 central line-associated bloodstream infections from 253 different healthcare facilities. You may be wondering how this compares with infections in the State of Rhode Island. Well Rhode Island reported only 1-4 central line-associated bloodstream infections from 16 healthcare facilities between January 2009 and June 2009. New York reported 182 central line-associated bloodstream infections from 182 facilities.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Well to us anyway. Between January 2009 and June 2009, 818 hospital-associated infections were observed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Oddly, the NHSN predicted that number would be 1,176.83 which at first glance might suggest that Pennsylvania hospitals are doing something right. That is until you recognize that there were 818 hospital-associated infections observed and who knows how many others might have been unobserved or unreported as hospital-associated infections.
During the same time frame, the State of New Jersey reported 183 observed hospital-associated infections which was close to the predicted 222.97.
So what does this all mean? First of all, the report is the result of a limited mandate to report specifically on central line-associated blood stream infections. Although it is clear from the total number of observed infections in the report that more types of infections were reported.
The back story: From June 2008 to December 2008, Pennsylvania’s own Department of Health reported 13,771 hospital-acquired infections, the most common were Urinary Tract Infections from catheters (UTI’s) (24.83%), surgical site infections (22.23%) and intestinal infections (18.15%). So why is the CDC concerned only with central line-associated blood stream infections? Good question. 30% of Pennsylvania hospitals using central lines had more infections than expected as compared with the rest of the US. Therefore Pennsylvania was flagged for reporting.
The State of New Jersey, late to the infection reporting party, only implemented legislation requiring reporting in 2007. Accordingly, the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services first report on State hospital-associated infections will not be released until the end of 2010. We await that report.
~Posted by D.M. Schwadron, Esquire
Gardasil, Merck Sharp & Dohme’s cervical cancer vaccine caused an uproar in 2006 when it was marketed to girls and women aged 9 to 26. It is estimated that over 25 million young women in the US have received the vaccine which was designed to prevent 4 types of HPV (Human papillomavirus types 6, 11, 16 and 18) which are associated with the risk of genital warts and cause about 70 percent of all cervical cancers.
The vaccine manufacturer’s recommendations have also been extended to boys. But one may (or may not if you read this blog) be surprised to know that there are questions being raised about the safety of Gardasil. A constellation of auto-immune disease symptoms (over 16,000 reports) including: Rheumetoid arthritis and lupus have been reported in otherwise healthy girls and there have been 50 deaths. Well 16,000 adverse events out of approximately 25 million isn’t a lot at all so we’ll just give Merck a pass on that one, shall we? Unless of course your daughter or loved one is one of the 16,000.
Questions have been raised as to whether Gardasil was tested adequately for safety in girls under age 15. Shocking, we’re aware. Not that it matters but…the first quart profits for Gardasil were $390 million. Gardasil is predicted to jump to $3 billion in profits by 2012.
~D.M. Schwadron, Esquire