by Nicole Gray
Since 1900, life expectancy has increased from less than 50 years to more than 80, thanks in part to remarkable improvements in medicine and healthcare delivery. Nonetheless, as renowned surgeon Atul Gawande once wrote, “We look for science to be an orderly field of knowledge and procedure, but it is not. It is an imperfect science, an enterprise of constantly changing knowledge, fallible individuals and, at the same time, lives on the line.”
Unfortunately, one time that patients are most vulnerable to the fallibility of medicine is when they are hospitalized. In fact, each year, 5 percent of all hospitalized patients develop healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), and almost 100,000 die as a result. The most deadly of all HAIs are central line-associated bloodstream infections, also known as CLABSI.