News & Events

Letter by John McCormack, Co-Chair of Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Patients Published in Sunday Boston Globe

View letter on

An epidemic of hospital infections

MORE THAN 2,000 patients in Massachusetts per year are dying from hospital-acquired infections ("Hospital infection may cost $473m: Report recommends public release of data," Page A1, Aug. 9). The financial cost cited by the Department of Public Health does not reflect the cost of human suffering and rehabilitation that patients and their families must contend with in the wake of these sometimes lethal infections.

Massachusetts prides itself on its world-class hospitals. Yet the report suggests that every time people enter these hospitals, they put their well-being, and even their lives, on the line because of the risk of acquiring an illness they did not have when they came. Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable. As a father who lost an infant daughter to a preventable medical error, I am appalled by this dangerous situation.

The article cites understaffing of nurses as a cause of infections. It follows that improving RN staffing in hospitals should be a priority. In addition to the call for reporting infections after they occur, I urge the passage of pending legislation to guarantee safe staffing levels to prevent these lethal infections.


The writer is cochairman of the Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Patients.