Wash your hands, doc! The CDC estimates that 80,000 people annually develop bloodstream infections from improper procedure while inserting catheters and IVs, with 30,000 of those patients dying. According to a survey of medical professionals, these deaths occur because hospital administrators fail to pay attention to these easily preventable illnesses, and allow their hospitals to operate with a culture that is lax in attention to sterilization details, reports the Washington Post.
The recommended fix is simple. Ensure that hospital docs, nurses, and lab techs: wash their hands; put on a sterile hat, mask, and gloves; clean the patient's skin, have the patient wear a sterile gown; and put a sterile dressing over the catheter site. A program paid for by the federal government reduced these infections by two-thirds.