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Americans Want Better Bacteria Protection In Hospitals

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George Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, speaks at a press conference at the National Press Club Wednesday.
Armando Trull
George Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, speaks at a press conference at the National Press Club Wednesday.

The report shows many Americans want hospitals to do a better job of protecting their patients from potentially deadly bacteria.

The Partnership says 84 percent of Americans surveyed support infection-reduction programs in hospitals. George Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, says hospitals need to be more focused on infection prevention.

"The death rate from sepsis is twice as high in hospitals as the death rate from cancer," he says.

Halvorson notes hospitals with aggressive protocols and training programs to prevent infections in the first place have reduced them by half.

"If we cut the death rate from sepsis in half, that's the numerical equivalent of eliminating cancer deaths," he says.

Sinsi Hernandez-Cancio of Fairfax, Va., is among the 1.7 million people who get an unrelated infection every year while hospitalized -- 200,000 of them die.

"They told me I had four different bacteria colonizing the site. I had to have two different surgeries after the initial cesarean to reopen it all up and clean it out," she says.

Hernandez-Cancio says she's lucky and agrees that hospitals need to do a better job of protecting patients.

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