Consumer Reports poll measures public experience with healthcare infections, medical errors

A new poll by Consumer Reports finds that 18% of Americans say they or an immediate family member have acquired an infection following a medical procedure or an overnight stay at a hospital, with 61% of the infections perceived as severe and 35% perceived as life threatening.

 

Highlights of the Consumer Reports survey include:

•· Overall, 18% of respondents reported that they or an immediate family member had acquired an infection as a the result of a surgical or non-surgical overnight stay in a hospital or as the result of a medical procedure performed in or out of a hospital.

•· Compared to other procedures performed in or out of the hospital with 9% reporting an acquired infection, the reported infections as a result of an overnight stay in the hospital were at least 45% higher:

•· Stayed overnight in the hospital as a result of surgery (14%)

•· Stayed overnight in the hospital for non surgical reasons (13%)

•· Respondents reported that these infections were severe (61%) and 35% characterized them as life threatening.

•· These acquired infections resulted in additional out of pocket expenses for 53% and more than two-thirds (69%) had to be admitted to a hospital or extend their stay.

•· Surprisingly, 59% felt that hospitals and healthcare professionals were doing enough to prevent patients from acquiring an infection as the result of a hospital stay or medical procedure. Among those that reported that they or an immediate family member had acquired an infection as the result of a hospital stay or other medical procedure, 49% said that hospitals and medical professionals were doing enough to prevent infections.

 

(SOURCES: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisoryboard.com, March 30, 2009; Consumer Reports, http://consumersunion.org, accessed April 4, 2009)