You may think of a hospital as a sterile safety zone in the battle against disease-causing bacteria, but according to Consumer Reports, that’s often far from the truth.
An estimated 648,000 Americans contract infections during a hospital stay.
While the majority of patients end up recovering from these infections, an alarming 75,000 people die, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Hospitals can be hot spots for infections and can sometimes amplify spread,” Tom Frieden, M.D., director of the CDC, told CR. “Patients with serious infections are near sick and vulnerable patients — all cared for by the same health care workers sometimes using shared equipment.”
In an effort to educate Americans about the risk of hospital infections, Consumers Union, the nonprofit policy advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, developed a list of the 12 hospitals in the United States that earned the lowest scores for preventing five infections.
Dubbed “The Low-Down Dozen,” the ratings are based on the CDC’s infection rate data for more than 3,000 U.S. hospitals from October 2013 to September 2014. The rankings are based on these five infections: MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), C. diff, central-line associated bloodstream infections, surgical site infections, and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.
“Getting a low score across all five infection categories is a red flag that the hospital is not focusing proper resources on infection control,” says Doris Peter, Ph.D. director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.
According to CR, these 12 hospitals, listed alphabetically, received the lowest scores in the nation for infection prevention:
- Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, New York. See the hospital’s response to CR’s ranking here.
- Decatur Memorial Hospital, Decatur, Illinois. This is how the hospital responded to the rankings.
- Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services, New Albany, Indiana. This is the hospital’s written response to CR.
- Fremont-Rideout Health Group, Marysville, California. Find out what this hospital is doing to better prevent against infections here.
- Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers, Evergreen Park, Illinois. Click here to see how this hospital is improving its infection rating.
- Mercy St. Anne Hospital, Toledo, Ohio. See the hospital’s response to CR here.
- Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank, New Jersey. Find out how the hospital is working to improve its infection rating.
- Rockdale Medical Center, Conyers, Georgia. Click here to see how the hospital is working to reduce infections.
- St. Petersburg General Hospital, St. Petersburg, Florida. This is how the hospital responded to the rankings.
- The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, Torrington, Connecticut This is the hospital’s written response to CR regarding its infection rating.
- UF Health Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida. Click here to see the hospital’s response to CR.
- Venice Regional Bayfront Health, Venice, Florida. Find out what this hospital is doing to improve its prevention of infections.
Check out CR’s “How Your Hospital Can Make You Sick.”
Have you ever developed an infection during a hospital stay? Share your experience below or on our Facebook page.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.