Hospital infections in Portugal “double the European average”

Since the austerity years, the number of people dying from infections picked up in Portugal’s hospital has skyrocketed.

RTP investigative team Sexta às 9 is to report this evening on the chilling fact that an average of 12 people die every day as a result of contracting ‘hospital infections’ – one of the worst being klebsiella pneumoniae, which killed eight people in just one hospital in an outbreak last year (click here).

To give an idea of the swathe cut by hospital superbugs, the tally is seven times higher than Portugal’s not inconsiderable death-toll from road traffic accidents.

Says RTP, the situation puts Portugal with twice European average. And fault cannot be laid solely on state hospitals.

The Sexta às 9 team discovered that even António Saraiva, the head of Portugal’s confederation of businessman, picked up an infection on the surgical block of a private hospital in Lisbon.

“I felt so ill”, he recalls, in an interview being pre-screened today.

Data for deaths from infections leaped between 2010 (when 2973 people died) and 2013 (4606), and that is before data from 2015 is analysed, when an outbreak in klebsiella forced whole wards to shut down in Gaia. At the time, national tabloid Correio da Manhã claimed that the number of deaths nationwide from hospital superbugs had reached 4600 per year.

On a global level, researchers have been warning that hospital infections could be set to kill 10 million by 2050, “if things don’t change – fast”.

It is a problem that has more to do with the constant mutating of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics than any lack of hospital hygiene, say reports.

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