Channel 3 Eyewitness News Clarification:
We want to clarify something you saw on this story Monday at 11 p.m.. We reported that Midstate Medical Center in Meriden used a respirator mask on more than one patient. The hospital has since told Eyewitness News the mask was never used on more than one patient, that the citation they received was for not properly cleaning the mask in between treatments.
Hartford Healthcare, who operates Midstate Medical Center issues this statement:
At Hartford HealthCare, we applaud the goal of providing consumers with new and different tools to measure hospital safety. We see this as an opportunity to continue our important work on improving patient safety and quality. Hartford HealthCare's integrated structure means we promote best practices across the system, sharing experience from our highest-performing members to improve quality throughout the network.
The Eyewitness News I-Team has uncovered alarming infection control issues at Connecticut hospitals, including one hospital in our state when inspectors said a mask was used on multiple patients without being cleaned.
Jean Rexford, the executive director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety, said she has real concerns about the safety of Connecticut hospitals.
In Connecticut, 17 of the 28 hospitals came in below the national average for the rate of patients getting an infection while at the hospital for something else.
“These are business models at this point, our hospitals are getting huge, I know the infection control people are working very hard but I think it has to be a hospital-by-hospital look at what resources are being used to fight infections,” Rexford said.
That hospital-by-hospital review can be done with federal hospital infections reports, and the I-Team went through dozens of reports from 2011 to today looking for lapses that could lead to patients getting infections while they were in the hospital for something else.
At MidState Medical Center in Meriden an inspection in August of 2012 said “based on observation and review of the facility policy, the facility failed to ensure that appropriate infection control techniques were utilized.”
Bed rails, telephones and call buttons weren't being properly cleaned.
Machines were being moved from one room to another without being sanitized.
The problems were listed over three pages, and then six months later another visit by inspectors to the hospital's pharmacy found more issues that inspectors said could have led to infections.
Items listed included employee food left rotting in the cabinets near medicine and items being stored on a ‘heavily soiled, grey appearing floor'.”
MidState is not alone. Inspectors turned up infection control issues in operating rooms and intensive care units at the hospital of St. Raphael in 2011.
In 2012, at Stamford Hospital, problems were cited in operating rooms and the maternity ward.
Rexford said patients should use the information uncovered by the Eyewitness News I-Team by being a good consumer and shopping around.
“I would do it. I'm going to have knee replacement within the next five years, you better believe I'm going to research the infection rate,” Rexford said.
Handwashing is one of the most important practices that can be done to protect yourself, and every caregiver should wash their hands in front of the patient when they enter the room and before they leave.
If surgery is scheduled in advance, ask a doctor for their rate of infections and for the hospital statistics.
For mobile users to read a statement provided by Hartford Healthcare, click here.
For more information on the federal hospital infection reports, click here.
Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.