Local Hospitals Make Dubious Consumer Reports List

A consumer advocacy group says hospitals in the Houston area need to do a better job at reducing a certain kind of bloodstream infection among ICU patients. Consumer Reports looked at central-line infection rates at a dozen area hospitals. And, as David Pitman reports, more than half of them did worse than the national average.

Central line catheters are designed to quickly deliver fluid, blood, or medications in or near the heart.  Infections of those lines account for nearly a third of the 99-thousand hospital infection related deaths per year in the U.S..  Each infection adds an average of 42-thousand dollars to a patient's hospital bill.

Consumer Reports found while none of the hospitals was entirely free of the potentially deadly infection, five of them had fewer than the national average — among them, Park Plaza Hospital, Methodist Hospital, and Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center.

On the other end, Clear Lake Regional Medical Center had the highest central line infection rate — at 81 percent worse than the national average.   Other hospitals with higher infection rates include Spring Branch Medical Center, Conroe Regional, and West Houston Medical Center. 

All of those hospitals are affiliated with HCA.  The corporate hospital chain says it's still evaluating the central line infection report, and preparing a response.

Bio photo of David Pitman

David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...