A recent statewide report card showed higher-than-expected death rates from bloodstream infections at nine southeastern Pennsylvania hospitals. Deaths from bloodstream infections in Pennsylvania have risen 53 percent since 2003, with more than 4,200 such deaths just last year in Pennsylvania. The report card was issued by the Health Care Improvement Foundation, which is an organization that conducts research on health care quality and patient safety. Thirty-one conditions and treatments were studied, including septicemia, heart attacks, strokes and hysterectomies. According to Kate Flynn, president of the Health Care Improvement Foundation, septicemia is one of the key areas that the organization has identified for improvement. It is an illness where bacteria and toxins are spread throughout the bloodstream. The hospitals with higher-than-expected death rates from septicemia include Temple University Hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, St. Mary Medical Center and Crozer-Chester Medical Center. Several of the cited hospitals indicated that they have looked at the issue and have identified steps for improvement. One of the main problems cited for the cause of septicemia deaths is the timing of detection and treatment. It is important for hospitals to establish processes for early detection of bloodstream infections.
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