September 30, 2012

Perhaps the most energizing aspect of the meeting was seeing how upset the CDC staff were by the growth in death and harm caused by HAIs. Many doctors who work for the CDC came to it before the modern patient safety movement, most often spurred on by the failure of the institutions where they worked to reduce preventable patient harm. Some were visibly frustrated by the fact that HAIs are a largely preventable problem and the primary reasons we don’t do a better job of controlling them is not lack of knowledge but lack of resources, particularly financial resources, and the political will to insist that the healthcare industry do better. One staff member became visibly angry when discussing the rampant nature of HAIs in nursing homes. These are not bureaucratic “drones” that government employees are often portrayed as in the media. Nearly every single person I interacted with was committed to saving lives.