What an astonishing reason for killing the program that would have saved lives. Although on one level the argument is reasonable, I have a feeling your loved ones couldn’t give a crap about it if you died as a result of not having the checklist. Since it looks like only legislation will correct this, contact your Congress-person to get something done. It might save your life one day.

A Lifesaving Checklist

A year ago, researchers at Johns Hopkins University published the results of a program that instituted in nearly every intensive care unit in Michigan a simple five-step checklist designed to prevent certain hospital infections. It reminds doctors to make sure, for example, that before putting large intravenous lines into patients, they actually wash their hands and don a sterile gown and gloves.

The results were stunning. Within three months, the rate of bloodstream infections from these I.V. lines fell by two-thirds. The average I.C.U. cut its infection rate from 4 percent to zero. Over 18 months, the program saved more than 1,500 lives and nearly $200 million.

Yet this past month, the Office for Human Research Protections shut the program down. The agency issued notice to the researchers and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association that, by introducing a checklist and tracking the results without written, informed consent from each patient and health-care provider, they had violated scientific ethics regulations.

  1. traaxx says:

    What’s really going on, is that the real truth about such things is that Doctor’s and Nurses, especially nurses, don’t wash their hands, don’t use gloves, and don’t follow the most basic rules of preventing infection and many many other things.

    They will gleefully use a glass vale of pain killer with filtering it. The don’t change gloves from one patient to another, assuming they are using gloves. They don’t give all the meds they are supposed to, unless the patient is able to know what it going on and is watching.

    The truth is the nurse you probably have caring for you isn’t the best at nursing skills, but will be the best at social/political skills – and patient care is not part of that formula.

    The Doctors are much better, they see themselves are too good or too busy for such mundane things. We don’t know anything, and they know everything – and they spend most of their lives in a universe in which they get to control most things. That’s why law suits scare them so much, suddenly someone else is in control.

  2. JPV says:

    1,500 people saved, in 18 months in one state?

    Meanwhile we have a power hungry administration, convincing a stupid, fat, lazy, American populace, that the very fiber of our nation needs to be forever changed in order to protect us because of a single event, over 6 years ago, that killed 3,000 people.

    All in the name of our SAFETY.

    What the hell is wrong with this picture???

  3. Richard says:

    Actually its probably more simple than that. By instituting this program and not telling the patients about it they have disproven the argument most hospitals used that its filthy patients who cause most of these infections like staph infections.

    So by proving most of the infections (under their own roof) are coming from doctors or other staff members bad hygiene they have opened every hospital in the country for more lawsuits.

    There is a reason that malpractice lawsuits are so prevalent in our society and it ain’t cause thee are too many bored lawyers…

  4. Bob says:

    the article does not really provide sufficient information about why the protocol was terminated. However, OHRP regulates federally funded research and under OHRP regulations, research subjects must be provide informed consent, among other protections, that convey the risks entailed. In this case, nothing is said about control subjects which may have been subject to more risk. I suspect that the sponsor’s IRB gave this an exempt status due to low risk, but since patient identifiers and access to medical records are involved the exempt category is truely inappropriate. The records available at OHRP suggest that the outcome is for the orignal IRB to re-evaluate the research and proceed accordingly.

  5. Personality says:

    Years ago when I was in the hospital, I was getting shots for pain killers and the nurses kept sticking themselves with the needle after they gave me the shot. Resulted in a few mandatory aids tests. Damn morons.

  6. Angel H. Wong says:

    The less sicker the patients get the less they can charge.

  7. Stu Mulne says:

    I’m guessing, but I think this may be a liability issue.

    If there’s a checklist, and it’s not followed, it’s almost a slam-dunk against the staffers and the facility. All kinds of education and supervision issues….

    If there’s no checklist, it’s a lot harder to prove negligence….

    I was “in” about ten years ago, and the “surfaces” in the bathroom were sticky! No idea what was on ’em, but nothing I cared about. The floors weren’t exactly clean, either….

    One possible plus: Although it’s not all that green (maybe – there are other issues here with respect to “washing”), many facilities now use so much disposable gear that the stuff tends to be clean almost accidentally if it’s not re-used somehow. Handling this gear can be quite “safe”, too, because the staffer doesn’t really touch anything that gets into the patient.

    I’ve used a surgeon locally a couple times that always seems to take a new “device” – staple remover, tweezers, clamps, etc. – out of a sterile package when needed to remove stitches & such. I don’t know whether those are discarded or sent someplace for re-sterilization, but he minimizes a lot of risk (and cleaning) issues.

    That same hospital I complained about, above, now uses “kits” (sterile scissors, tweezers, etc.) for patients in their rooms and ER. These _are_ discarded. Mom spent a good part of the last 18 months in and out of the place (and caught at least one hospital-borne infection), and guess who “rescued” a lot of “her” disposables. (Nice for “workshop” use….)



  8. Thomas says:

    Congratulations. Whenever anything in this US goes wrong, your first reaction must always be that it is Bush’s fault.

    Coming back to reality, as others have stated, this is most likely related to liability and malpractice than the Bush Administration.

  9. Ron Larson says:

    Years ago when I was in the hospital, I was getting shots for pain killers and the nurses kept sticking themselves with the needle after they gave me the shot.

    Wow. Do you mean accidentally? Or on purpose? Were they trying to enjoy some of the drug for themselves?

  10. tag1 says:

    My husband sent me this link because I am a nurse and he thought I would find it interesting…what I found interesting is how stupid all of your replies are!
    First of all to think nurses would intentionally stick themselves with a dirty needle is insane…IF they really wanted to enjoy the drug – they could easily do it with a clean needle and would not risk getting hepatitis or aids…secondly most IV medication is delivered into an IV line with a needless syringe so next time you try to fabricate a stupid story like the one above, know the facts so you can make up one semi-beliveable.

    Next, if you all had any idea how hard hospital administrators work to decrease accidents, infections you wouldn’t make the stupid comment about the sicker you are the more money they make…

    Disposal prepackaged sterile equipment…all builds up in the landfills…it is not an acceptable solution…a lot of good it does if it’s touched with unsterile or unclean hands! Don’t give yourself a false sense of security thinking that is the answer.

    While not every doctor or nurse is a highly skilled professional – most of them are and work long and hard hours to take care of patients. From experience, I can tell you, most patients are people who don’t take personal responsiblity for their health and are obese, hypertensive, diabetic, smokers and drinkers. It’s no mystery why they get sick and yet, they don’t stop their destructive behaviors. Many patients are even on disabiltiy and receive free healthcare because they’ve ruined their bodies so badly. Nurses and doctors know, most superbug infections are spread from infected patients to healthcare workers and onto the next patient. It’s best you realize this too and watch your doctors and nurses and let them know if you see them not washing their hands before they touch a patient or before they leave a patients room. Antibacterial gel is also acceptable; they should “gel in gel out”.
    Visitors should also do the same!! You wouldn’t believe the germs in hospital rooms that everyone is exposed to – anyone who comes to the hospital is exposed…which leads me to warn DO NOT BRING BABIES OR YOUNG KIDS TO THE HOSPITAL UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!! You are exposing them to halls full of pneumonia, TB, hepatitis, staph etc.

    Gloves are not always necessary. They only need to be worn if the healthcare worker is going to be exposed to dirty conditions like blood, or other bodily fluids. Proper hand washing before and after is all that is necessary for many nursing cares.

    The person who remarked it’s probably the IRB consent issue is probably correct and the only one who made an intelligent comment.

    The person who made the Bush comment…it is so stupid I can’t even spend time replying to it!

    In the complex world of healthcare you need to be your own best advocate. Educate yourselves to keep yourselves safe and get the best care possible.

    Also, appreciate the nurses who are doing their best to provide you with good care – you have no idea how hard they work and how much they really care…sometimes I wonder why.

  11. Mister Catshit says:

    #1, traax,

    The truth is the nurse you probably have caring for you isn’t the best at nursing skills, but will be the best at social/political skills – and patient care is not part of that formula.

    Damn, I am really wondering if you even understand what you wrote.

    The first half of that is correct. There can only be one BEST. In fact, half of any profession, be they Presidents, physicians, preachers, or panhandlers are below average. Nurses are no different.

    So it is just inconceivable that they are all BEST at social / political skills. At some point there has to be one thing that elevates a nurse above the rest to make her / him the best.

    Then patient care is a nurses primary job. How you can suggest that nurses DO NOT have that care as their primary focus is pretty low. Rude, ignorant, and mighty stupid too. To suggest all nurses don’t care? Sheet, didn’t you claim before your “god” will take care of you?

  12. David says:

    I’m sure they shut it down because having less complications reduced revenue. No need for complicated explanations here.

  13. RickCain says:

    In my experience, the fry cook at my local Nick’s diner has a better handwashing program than my primary care physician.

    Medicine has yet again become arrogant. They were like this in the 1800’s when they knew the link between cleanliness and disease but ignored it because “they knew better” and didn’t want to be told what to do, they were doctors!

  14. Bob says:

    Just to clear things up… research is not the same as quality control.



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