Viewpoint: Patient Advocate Responds to Infection Control Roundtable

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As an unapologetic, outspoken advocate, for patients in all healthcare settings, including dialysis units, I felt duty bound to respond to the RBT Roundtable discussion—Infection Control, posted on August  11.

I certainly support all that was stated by those professionals, and would like to add the perspective of a patient advocate, family member of a dialysis patient, and friend of several dialysis patients.

This roundtable comes at an opportune time as recent posts at www.billpeckham.com have addressed the H1N1 and how dialysis patients could be affected. On August 9, I posted my suggestions for dialysis facilities, the basic of basics, in response to several comprehensive posts regarding H1N1 written by Bill Peckham, patient activist, and Peter Laird, MD.  I would suggest everyone read these most-informative posts: http://www.billpeckham.com/from_the_sharp_end_of_the/2009/08/h1n1-death-rate-surges.html?cid=6a00e54fc659eb88340120a4db667c970b#comment-6a00e54fc659eb88340120a4db667c970b 

My post was  a result of four avenues I traveled: (1) my review of many dialysis facility survey findings, (2) my communication with patients, and their loved ones, (3) my communication with  healthcare professionals, at various levels, working in dialysis units, in several states, and (4) my onsite visits to dialysis facilities.

Is it not of great concern to know that (preventable) infection continues, after many, many years, to be the number two cause of death among the dialysis population?  If you are not concerned, you should be. Additionally as frightening, is the fact that hospital-related preventable errors that resulted in death, harm and injury have not significantly declined since the IOM (Institute of Medicine) report, “To Err Is Human” in 1999. 

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