Home About RID What is RID? Committee Who is Betsy McCaughey? Protect Patients Protect Athletes Protect Students Infection Facts How Many Infections? Third World Hygiene MRSA Screening Preventing C. Diff. The Next Asbestos Medical Schools Cost of Infection Hospital Infections Infection Rates State Reporting Model Reporting Bill Medicare Hospital Compare Press RID In the News TV/Radio Appearances Press Releases Share Your Story Mailing List Order Materials Join RID Innovations Links Contact

Note: For additional information and footnotes, please see the 3nd edition of RID's popular publication, Unnecessary Deaths: The Human and Financial Costs of Hospital Infections
What else needs to be done? Medical schools should be teaching future doctors the precautions they must take to protect their patients from infection. It's hard to believe, but most medical schools devote virtually no time, not even one full class, to showing students how bacteria are transmitted from patient to patient on clothing, equipment, and gloves, and what specifically they should be doing to prevent it. Dr. Frank Lowey, a professor at the New York–Presbyterian Hospital at the Columbia University Medical Center says, "it's something we should have done quite a while ago." Lowey says it's ironic that "there are curriculum committees devoted to making sure that bio–terrorism is covered, and the risk of nosocomial infections far outweighs that."

Some medical schools are stressing the importance of curbing the use of antibiotics. That's good, because overuse of antibiotics wastes money and causes bacteria to morph into new, drug–resistant strains. But limiting the use of antibiotics won't stop hospital infections. Patients who contract MRSA get it from unclean hands or contaminated equipment or clothing, not from taking antibiotics. No hospital has ever eradicated infection merely by controlling the use of these drugs.

When medical students put on their white coats and swear the Hippocratic Oath, they should be taught how to do no harm. Preventing the spread of bacteria is an essential part of that lesson. They should learn it before they go out on the hospital floors and touch their first patient.


Contracting infection while in the ICU adds $150,000 or more to an elderly patient's care costs and shortens their life by many years. 

September 2014

JAMA Internal Medicine

survey shows 70% of hospital leaders say public reporting motivates them to improve patient safety.


Betsy McCaughey:

"U.S. hospitals not ready for Ebola."

Read Latest Articles

RID Chairman Betsy McCaughey discusses livesaving information live


April 24, 2014

April 2, 2014

RID's New Report on Hospital Infection Reporting

Where consumers can get the best information on safe hospital care.

March 2014

Improving Antibiotic Use Among Hospitalized Patients

But Have They Considered a Clean Hospital?

Centers for Disease Control: March 5, 2014

Boston Herald: Dec. 28, 2013

Updated: Nov. 11, 2013

AJIC: December 2013
September 22, 2013
Fall 2013
Summer 2013
March 18, 2013
March 13, 2013
March 5, 2013

Copyright (c) 2004-2013 The Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths.
All rights reserved. Medical Disclaimer