Report: Hospital Infections Still a Problem in Israeli Hospitals

The Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Yerushalayim. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Between 4,000 and 6,000 Israelis die in hospitals each year due to infections they contracted in hospitals when they were being treated for other diseases. A formerly secret report that, after years of debate, was made public by the Health Ministry reveals that Hadassah Mount Scopus hospital has the worst patient infection rate, with 8.3 patients per 1,000 days of hospitalization contracting an infection. The best hospital – with zero cases of patient infection reported – was at Ha’emek hospital in northern Israel.

Although the infection rate is an indication of the quality of care, the Ministry cautioned against using it as a criterion for comparing care in hospitals. The type of diseases and conditions treated, along with the type of patients treated (older patients are much more vulnerable to infection than younger patients), and gender of patients (males generally have a higher rate of in-hospital infections) all factor into the level of infections, it said.

On a per-1,000 basis, the infection rate in Soroka hospital was 0.9; Hasharon hospital, 1.3; Nahariya hospital, 1.8; Wolfson hospital, 2.1; Assaf Harofeh, 2.3; Belinson and Meir hospitals, 2.9; Kaplan, 3.3; Sheba, 3.9; Ichilov, Carmel and Hadassah Ein Karem, 4.1; Shaare Tzedek, 4.8; Barzilai, 5; Ziv, 5.3; Poriya, 5.7; Rambam, 5.9; Hillel Yafeh, 6.6; and Laniado, 7.5.

The report was first prepared in 2011 by the Ministry, and researchers determined that the main cause of infections were sepsis and bacteria. The bacteria make their way into the bloodstream via catheters that are inserted into the skin, and handled by personnel who failed to take sanitary precautions, in many cases.

In the U.S. and Canada, the in-hospital patient infection rate is between 1.27 and 2 on average. In developing countries, the rate is between 9.7 and 14.5 patients per 1,000.

Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, director general of the Ministry, said that in the past year, hospitals had significantly improved their performance. “The hospitals have tightened their procedures, and we expect that the results of the new reports we are preparing will show an improvement,” he said.

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