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January 28, 1956


JAMA. 1956;160(4):290. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960390040012

Although patients go to the hospital to be cured, many acquire respiratory, intestinal, urinary, or wound infections there. Such infections prolong the patient's stay in the hospital and thereby increase the bed shortage, but, more important, they may seriously impair the patient's health. The incidence of such infections cannot be stated, because, unlike the weather, nobody talks about it. The development of antibiotic-resistant organisms, especially pyogenic micrococci, gives this subject increasing importance. Colebrook1 in a recent survey found that outbreaks of puerperal septicemia still occur on maternity wards, outbreaks of gastroenteritis still occur in hospital nurseries and pediatric wards, wound infections following so-called clean operations are still seen, and cross infections still plague the medical wards.

The source of these infections often is not hard to find. Rogers2 showed that in an infants ward the cribs, sheets, blankets, floor, floor polisher, bathtub, bedside table, nursing chair, thermometers, infant