pennsylvania hospital uses yogurt to curb infection rate

Hospital-acquired infections have become a serious issue in this country. Every day, patients are put at risk simply by being in a hospital. While many hospitals have tried various ways to curb the rate of infections, like washing hands more often or isolating infected patients, many patients continue to get sick. One hospital in Pennsylvania, however, thinks it has found an easy, inexpensive and effective solution to the problem.

Officials at Holy Redeemer in Montgomery County began to get worried when an infection known as C. difficile became increasingly common among its patients. The hospital tried various methods of killing and containing the infection, but rates remained high. Eventually, one doctor brought up the idea of using probiotics to fight the infection. Rather than giving patients pills, however, they decided to start recommending that patients eat yogurt with their meals.

As more patients who were taking antibiotics began including yogurt in their diets, Holy Redeemer watched its infection rate drop by 66 percent. Although doctors from other facilities were skeptical about whether yogurt was actually the true cause of the decline in infections, Holy Redeemer says it has not made any other changes to the way it treats patients.

Ultimately, hospitals are responsible for ensuring that their patients are safe while in their care. However, the C. difficile infection is difficult to kill, even when hospitals clean patient rooms thoroughly and doctors wash their hands regularly. Fortunately, armed with this new information, patients may be able to take charge of their own safety during hospital stays.

Source: The Tampa Tribune, “Is yogurt a solution to hospital infection?” Stacey Burling, Dec. 29, 2013

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