40,000 deaths from hospital infections every year
Around 40,000 people die from hospital infections in Germany every year. An expert is now demanding better staff training and stricter controls by the authorities.
Half of hospital infections would be avoidable According to the German Society for Hospital Hygiene (DGKH), around one million patients in German hospitals become infected with germs every year. Around 40,000 people die each year as a result of poor hygiene in clinics, as DGKH board member Klaus-Dieter Zastrow told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) on Thursday. Even modern surgical methods, which in comparison to the past often only required minor interventions or better ventilation systems could not have changed these figures for decades, the expert told the Südwest Presse (SWP). According to experts, half of all hospital infections would be avoidable. According to Zastrow, hygiene is still neglected in many hospitals. The principle often applies: "You collect money, but you don't do hygiene."
Topic is kept small by politics The tightened infection protection law in 2011 contains "strict rules that have to be monitored by the state", but the hospital operators are "not enthusiastic about the stricter regulations." In addition, the topic is kept small by politics, "To save money," criticized Zastrow. He also believes that clinic staff should be better trained and government controls should be tightened. In the WAZ, Zastrow even called for hospitals with high infection rates to be made public on the Internet. Regarding the hygiene violations, he said: "If the hospital manager knows that his chief surgeon does not care about hygiene, he has to fire him."
Data refined and long outdated The National Reference Center (NRZ) for monitoring clinical infections estimates the number of people infected annually at only 400,000 to 600,000 and puts the deaths at "only" 10,000 to 15,000. As Zastrow told the WAZ, this data was "beautified in the sense of the hospital lobby and long outdated." A spokesman for the German Hospital Society said to the SWP about this allegation: "The subject is too serious to be used as a scare tactic."
Different analyzes In his figures, Zastrow relies on an analysis by the DGKH from 2013 in which data on hospital infections from home and abroad were compared and conclusions were drawn for Germany. In contrast to the SWP, those responsible at the NRZ emphasized the seriousness of their numbers and called the DGKH analysis "faulty". (ad)
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