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ECMC credited with reducing infections

A state report on hospital infections singles out Erie County Medical Center among those institutions that experienced success at reducing infections.

The medical center reduced central line-associated bloodstream infections to zero in 2013 and during the first half of 2014 in its medical intensive-care unit, a rate that was significantly below the state average.

A central-line infection occurs through the catheters that deliver medication and fluids to patients, and a central line is different from standard peripheral catheters because it goes farther into the body, ending near the heart, and may be used for weeks or months.

“The continuity of providers has resulted in a team dynamic which facilitates communication and prioritizes prevention of infections.” Charlene Ludlow, ECMC’s chief safety officer, said in a statement.

The report from the state Health Department did not note results beyond the second half of 2014. But ECMC said the zero infection rate has continued into 2015.

Overall, rates of infections in central lines and surgical sites and Clostridium difficile infections, a type of bacteria that is a common cause of diarrhea in hospitals, have declined since public reporting began in 2007, but the declines in central-line infections leveled off in 2013, according to the report.