LOS ANGELES—Hospitals can be a breeding ground for the spread of diseases. If an individual is healthy and goes to the hospital for a regular annual check-up, there is a chance that the individual could leave with some sort of virus or infection.

Two common and deadly infections found in hospitals are: MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphycloccus aureus), commonly known as Staph infection and C. difficile (Clostridium difficile colitis). Staph infection is a bacterium that is responsible for several infections in humans, while C. difficile is an inflammation of the large intestines.

C. Difficile
C. Difficile

Consumer Reports states that every year 648,000 people in the U.S. develop infections while staying in the hospitals, causing 75,000 deaths. Many of these deaths have been caused by the misuse of antibiotics, the very medicine that was created in order to fight against infections. Other types of infections that people develop in hospitals are central-line associated bloodstream infections, surgical-site infections, and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

Consumer Reports took the initiative to rate more than 3,000 U.S. hospitals. The rating shows ways of avoiding infections, describing the methods that work, and those that don’t. Hospitals were rated based on their performance in avoiding the spread of infections like MRSA and C. difficile. Reports also include ratings from central-line associated bloodstream infections, surgical-site infections, and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

A hospital would have to report zero infections to score a top rating in the report. It is not impossible to accomplish, for the ratings reported that 322 hospitals scored zero for MRSA and 357 for C. difficile; 105 hospitals earned high ratings for reporting zero against both infections.

Hospitals such as John Hopkins Hospital and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center received low ratings in regards to preventing MRSA, C. difficile, or both infections.

Nine hospitals gained high ratings for preventing MRSA, C. difficile, and the other infections that were being rated. Those nine included: Northwest Texas Healthcare System (TX), Jupiter Medical Center (FL), White County Medical Center (AR), Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center (NV), Biloxi Regional Medical Center (MS), Johnston Memorial Hospital (VA), Lima Memorial Health System (OH), Western Arizona Regional Medical Center (AZ), and South Baldwin Regional Medical Center (AL).

In contrast, here are 12 hospitals that received scores on the lower side for avoiding every infection included in the ratings and they were: Brooklyn Hospital Center (NY), Decatur Memorial Hospital (IL), Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services (IN), Fremont-Rideout Health Group (CA), Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers (IL), Mercy St. Anne Hospital (OH), Riverview Medical Center (NJ), Rockdale Medical Center (GA), St. Petersburg General Hospital (FL), The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (CT), UF Health Jacksonville (FL), and Venice Regional Bayfront Health (FL).

Consumer Reports believes that hospitals doing the basics, like using antibiotics in a safe manner and keeping their area clean at all times is not enough to prevent infections. Hospitals must also consistently follow the set rules for managing superbug infections, be financially accountable, report how many infections patients are contracting from hospitals on a consistent basis, and not hesitate in reporting outbreaks.

Consumer Reports logo
Consumer Reports logo

There is a 3-part investigation that is being associated with this report. This being the second part, focusing on the ratings for hospitals in the U.S. when it comes to infections. The first focuses on how antibiotics are leading to infections and includes an introduction. The last part will address antibiotics and how they are associated with the U.S. meat supply market.

For those who want a better look at the story that goes along with the ratings, visit the Consumer Reports website.

For those who are interested in learning the method used for rating the hospitals they can visit this page.

Consumer Reports was founded in 1936. It has earned the title of being the largest and most trusted nonprofit, consumer organization in the world.