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Health

Report: Some Detroit-area hospitals not doing enough to prevent infection

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Hospitals are supposed to make their patients better, but some may be making patients sick.

A new set of hospital ratings from Consumer Reports says nine of the Detroit area's largest hospitals aren't doing enough to prevent patients from contracting infections during hospital stays.

Henry Ford Hospital, University of Michigan Hospitals and St. Joseph Mercy Oakland were among the hospitals to receive low scores for overall avoidance of infections

The study also rated hospitals on how well they avoided specific infections, including C. difficile and MRSA, two of the most common and deadly.

Doris Peter, director of Consumer Reports' Health Ranking Center, says low ratings are red flags a hospital isn't following standard protocols.  

"If a hospital is not doing well on C-diff, they're probably over-prescribing antibiotics," she said. "If they're not doing well on MRSA, they're probably not following protocols for inserting lines that deliver medications."

Peter says patients shouldn't be afraid to question the use of antibiotics and insist on clean facilities. 

"Ask [staff] to clean your room, ask everyone who comes into your room to wash their hands," she said, "A lot of consumers don't feel comfortable asking those questions, but for the most part, staff members don't mind."

None of the largest hospitals in the Detroit area received Consumer Reports' highest ranking for infection avoidance, though 11 earned the second-highest rating for avoiding central line infections.

The Centers for Disease and Prevention says around 648,000 people in the US develop infections each year while staying in the hospital.

Around 75,000 die from those infections.

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