Why U.S. Hospitals Could Struggle With Coronavirus
It's no secret that hospitals in the United States have proven to have an infection control problem. That's a major issue considering these facilities are the places tasked with treating infected patients, such as those who have the coronavirus, reports ProPublica.
For an example of this issue, the nonprofit news organization points to University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. When a cruise ship was forced to dock in Bayonne, New Jersey in early February because of a suspected new coronavirus outbreak onboard, it was University Hospital that took in four patients who needed testing. This was big move, as these four patients represented the first possible coronavirus cases in the state.
Luckily, all four of the patients brought in tested negative for coronavirus. But what would have happened if they didn't? New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said at the time that the hospital was following proper infection control procedures, but the hospital’s history suggested there was reason to be cautious. That's because the hospital was unable to stop a deadly bacteria from spreading through its facilities just two years ago. That bacteria would ultimately cause infections that killed three babies.
Upon further review, government agencies determined that University Hospital was short staffed during the outbreak; failed to keep clean and sanitary; and improperly isolated patients who already had respiratory issues.
University Hospital is under new leadership now and that leadership says the infection control issues of the past have been properly addressed through changes in policy. If that is indeed the case, these changes do little to calm concerns attributed to other hospitals that made the same mistakes.
ProPublica reviewed the records of hospitals that will likely have to treat new coronavirus patients and found those hospitals are having issues controlling other infections.
Dr. Peter Hotel, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston tells ProPublica that, when it comes to possible future coronavirus victims, he is most concerned for healthcare workers. Two healthcare workers in Northern California are being presumed as new coronavirus positive, following initial tests, The Alameda County Public Health Department reported on Tuesday.
To read the rest of ProPublica’s report, click here.
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