In the history of surgery, countless patients have died of infections. Ignaz Semmelweis was the first to introduce the disinfection of hospital staff in maternity hospitals, thus keeping child bed fever at bay. Previously, up to 30% of mothers died from it. However, infections in hospitals are still an evil today. 2.6 million people in Europe suffer from it every year - and 91,000 of them die.
Such diseases are an underestimated risk: pneumonia, blood poisoning such as inflammation of the urethra and infected wounds are among them, according to a study published in Plos Medicine.
And in Germany?
In Germany, Petra Gastmeier of the Charité suspects about half a million infections a year with around 15,000 deaths. A third of the inflammation could be avoided.
According to the study, infections in clinics are said to cost 2.5 million years of life in Europe - each year. This expressly applies despite basic illnesses of the patients.
What are hospital infections?
Hospital infections are infections that a patient gets after at least three days in the clinic, the infections of the first two days are considered souvenirs.
Negligence of doctors and nurses?
Are the nurses to blame? The sisters? The doctors? Catheters and ventilators can easily bring pathogens into the body. These do not have to be external germs, but also bacteria that are stored on the skin or in the patient's intestine. Generally speaking, the longer a catheter is, the greater the risk of becoming infected.
Intensive care units are a risk area
Only 3.5% of patients in general wards become infected, but 15% of those in intensive care units. In addition, patients are getting older and thus more and more at risk of infections.
Better methods, but more invasive measures
Although the risk of infection is reduced by new methods such as keyhole surgery, the number of interventions in the body increases, as does the number of venous catheters. Each one of them is a potential input for pathogens.
What to do?
Infections are best dealt with by trained personnel, but also by using antibiotics sparingly. However, infections cannot be completely prevented. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)