About 2 in 3 Medicare beneficiaries who were discharged into the community following hospitalization in 2003 or 2004 were rehospitalized or died within a year, according to a recent New England Journal of Medicine article. Only 10% of the rehospitalizations were estimated to have been planned. This highlights the extent to which patients who enter the healthcare system feed back into it.

On Wednesday the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education held a hearing on a National Strategy to Reduce Healthcare Associated Infections. Witnesses included the Directors of the CDC, and AHRQ, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health of HHS, a representative for the American Hosptal Association, representative for the New York State Department of Health, and Peter Pronovost of Johns Hopkins (and checklist fame).

We recently launched the Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership (GARP) to extend the work of Extending the Cure to five developing countries - China, India, Kenya, South Africa and Vietnam.  Although these countries do not use antibiotics at nearly the intensity that one sees in the United States, they already face high levels of resistance, particularly in hospital-acquired infections. 

Jasper Palmer is a patient escort who had a good idea.

Michael Bennett and his father Mark Bennett were an exceptionally close father and son. Mark was a decorated WWII combat veteran, former actor and stockbroker, who lived near his family in Baltimore. He spent years enjoying the company of his son and five grandchildren, but in February of 2004 the robustly viable senior developed a flu virus. Worried that the flu was developing into pneumonia, Michael took his father to the hospital, where he showed immediate improvement – they expected a short hospital stay.

In March of 1978 a patient was admitted to the University of Virginia (UVA) Medical Center who was infected with MRSA, a type of antibiotic-resistant staph.