Annemarie Flood is the infection control coordinator at City of Hope, a nationally known, 177-bed cancer center in Duarte.
Listen to her audio clips and click through the photographs to get a better understanding of how Flood and her colleagues work to prevent infections in their highly vulnerable patients.
Visitors riding the elevators at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles find themselves face-to-face with colorful floor-to-ceiling posters on the inside doors.
"Zero is the Greatest Number," reads the logo, part of the prestigious hospital's campaign to drive down to zero the number of infections within its walls. The posters appear in all 42 elevators in the facility, reminding employees and assuring patients and visitors that Cedars has infections in its sights.
The three-dozen cancer patients on City of Hope's top floor are among those least able to fight off infection. They've received bone marrow transplants to infuse their blood with healthy new cells.
Their white blood cell counts hover near rock bottom. A healthy person might have a count of 5,000 disease-fighting white blood cells. Some patients on the top floor have no white blood cells at all.
For the first time, health care consumers can learn about infection rates at most California Hospitals. Due to the format, however, consumers may need some time to navigate the new report. Read this article for a few pointers.
For nearly a decade, patient advocates have been waiting to hear which California hospitals have good safety records, and which are plagued with high infection rates. They got their wish at 3:06 p.m. last Thursday, the last formal business day of the year.
When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a 2004 infection reporting bill, less than a half-dozen states had passed laws requiring hospitals to inform the public about infections that patients acquired at hospitals.
In just six years, all that has changed.