News Headlines Article

Hospitals Step Up the War on Superbugs
The Wall Street Journal

During 32 years as a physician, Daniel Federman has used his stethoscope to listen to patients’ hearts and lungs. But a recent study at the West Haven, Conn., veterans’ hospital where Dr. Federman works left him aghast. After seeing an image of the bacteria accumulated on his stethoscope, he admits, “I was appalled…The basic fact is that I don’t recall cleaning my stethoscope”—ever.

Nor apparently did many of his colleagues.

Health-care-acquired infections—maladies associated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria—kill tens of thousands of patients a year in American hospitals. On any given day, approximately one in 25 patients develops at least one infection contracted during hospital care, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “demonstrating the need for improved infection control in U.S. health-care facilities.”