Stop Smiling. It’s Not Good Enough

Paul Levy

Posted 3/13/12 on Not Running A Hospital

Ok, call me a sourpuss, or call me a contrarian, but I am put off by the self-satisfaction evident in this graphic in the Boston Globe. To be fair to the newspaper, its coverage reflects how the story about a reduction in the rate of central line infections was reported by the state Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Health Care Quality and Safety. That report presents data for the period July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2011.

The good news is that the rate of such infections dropped by 24% during that period. The bad news is inherent in this description:

Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections (CLABSIs): A central venous catheter (CVC), sometimes known as a central line, is a special type of flexible tube that is placed through the skin into a large vein in a patient’s chest, arm, neck or groin and ends in or close to the heart or one of the major blood vessels. . . . While central venous catheters are considered an essential part of providing critical care, their use also places patients at increased risk for infection. Central line associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs) are serious, costly, and most can be prevented by following accepted practices for inserting and caring for central lines (my emphasis).

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