WI hospitals have lower infection rate associated with healthcare

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - New numbers show Wisconsin hospitals are limiting infections while providing care, compared to the rest of the country.

The report from the Centers for Disease Control shows hospitals in the badger state have a lower percentage of bloodstream and urinary tract infections compared to the national average.

“Anything we carry back from the O.R. can have an infection or could spread infection if we didn't clean it properly, so pretty much everything we touch, we want to make sure it's properly cleaned,” lead central service technician at Eau Claire’s Marshfield Clinic, Jordan Herrick said.

He said instruments at Marshfield Clinic go through a continual cycle of surgery, cleaning and storage.

It's just one way surgeons help prevent infections. The CDC did the research in 2012 and released the data in Mar. saying Wisconsin had 55 percent less central line associated bloodstream infections (involving tubes placed in a large vein in a patient’s neck or chest.

“I always tell my patients that my goal during surgery is to do the best job that I can in everything I have control over and that includes sterile technique, antibiotics and everything to prevent that,” Marshfield Clinic surgeon Dr. Tim Pitchford said. “Then my second goal is to try pick up on things that are out of my control but we know that is a potential and getting on top of things as soon as possible helps also.”

Pitchford said technological advancements and lessons learned along the way have helped prevent the spread of bacteria.

“In addition to wiping down all the surfaces with bleach, which is the only thing that actually kills the spores, then we do the ultraviolet light treatment. We do that in the O.R.s after patients have been in those too.”

“It's always been presumed but we make an effort now to get the antibiotics into the patient within a certain time frame before surgery. And that has been shown also to decrease the infection rates.”

“Don't be afraid to ask someone to wash their hands or use alcohol if they see that not occurring before the nurse or doctor goes to check their incisions.”

“Proud to be a part of Wisconsin to know we're doing such a great job. We're always there for the patient and that's our main concern making sure the patient is safe,” Herrick said.

Although there are several ways to prevent infection, Pitchford said, leaving the hospital, in a world of bacteria, no one can avoid risk of disease 100 percent of the time.

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