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Letter: Hospitals must address their high infection rate

Hospitals must address their high infection rate

My mother, a relatively healthy 82-year-old, was recently admitted to a local hospital. We immediately discovered that primary physicians and even specialists do not make hospital visits. They delegate to others. Unfortunately, these others do not know the patient or her history and communicate with no one – not each other, her primary physicians or the patient/health care proxy.

We thought she dodged a bullet when she was released, only to return a week later with an infection. When we contacted her primary physician because she was coughing and had difficulty breathing, he told us to take her back to the hospital since “she probably contracted the infection there anyway.”

The sad fact is that my mother feels she may not leave the facility alive. If the current infection does not kill her, the next one she contracts may. So there we sat through Christmas awaiting one test that might diagnose the type of infection, but was deferred due to a cough and sore throat that the facility cannot resolve.

The other fact is that my sisters and I spend about eight hours a day with her to keep her mind engaged and walk her around the floor every hour because it appears there is no one available. And yes, we all have full-time jobs and families.

Times are changing. If this is the wave of the future, hospitals must change their model. From my perspective, it is totally ineffective. A health care advocate should be assigned to every patient. The monetary savings (my mother’s second hospital stay is now more than one week and may stretch to two weeks, when it should have no more than a few days) along with the patient/family frame of mind, would be considerable.

Chris Henry

Hamburg