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Program at Castle ends bloodstream infections


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POSTED: Monday, March 23, 2009

Castle Medical Center's intensive-care unit has not had a single bloodstream infection since linking up with a study developed by Johns Hopkins University, says Kathy Raethel, vice president of patient care services.

Based on a system developed by Dr. Peter Pronovost of Johns Hopkins' Quality and Safety Research Group, the initiative is aimed at preventing infections from a “;central line”; catheter that hospitals use to administer fluids and medicine and take blood samples.

Each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 250,000 patients get bloodstream infections through their central line catheter, and 30,000 to 60,000 of them die.

Hawaii's numbers were not readily available.

Castle previously had “;just a very few”; bloodstream infections, Raethel said.

“;But every one, if it can be prevented, it's important to do that,”; she said.

The Windward hospital has had none since joining more than 40 hospitals in the study about two years ago, she said.

The program is so effective that the Hawaii Medical Service Association now is providing funding and support for all Hawaii hospitals to join a national “;Stop Bloodstream Infections”; initiative.

The amount of funding was not released. A spokeswoman said it will be used for travel and training, including bringing Johns Hopkins teams here to work with hospitals.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is implementing the comprehensive patient safety program in hospitals in about a dozen states.

The precautions include careful hygiene, the use of surgical masks, cleaning the insertion area with a special chemical, draping the patient's entire body in sterile covering, and placement of a sterile dressing over the site once the catheter is in.

“;When you do all of those things, the chance of central infection occurring is very slim,”; said Raethel.

Adventist Health, which owns Castle, approached Johns Hopkins to include it in the study with more than 40 hospitals, Raethel said.

The Health Research & Educational Trust, Johns Hopkins University and the Michigan Health & Hospital Association's Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality are collaborating in the national initiative.

Eighteen states are participating in a similar effort funded partly by the Sandler Foundation of the Jewish Endowment Fund.

“;Hawaii hospitals take patient safety very seriously, making this program a natural for our state,”; Dr. Della M. Lin, an anesthesiologist at the Queen's Medical Center, said in a news release. “;In the end, we believe the program will help save lives by eliminating deadly infections related to the use of central line catheters in health care.”;

She said she doubts Hawaii hospitals have a serious problem with bloodstream infections, but “;we probably do have some infections throughout the state.”;