The Osgood File. This is Charles Osgood.

Hospitals do save lives.

But every year now, tens of thousands of Americans are killed by infections they pick up while in the hospital.

There are things that you could do and things hospitals should do to make that less likely.

As we’ll hear after this…

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People used to say they didn’t even like to visit hospitals, because they were full of sick people.

Well, they were – and they are.

In fact, it’s worse now – in part, because of the antibiotic-resistant germs that now exist.

Our CBS News colleague Hena Daniels reports…

VO – Hena Daniels, CBS News Correspondent
“It’s estimated one in 25 patients contract an infection from the hospital and tens of thousands die every year from those infections.” (:08)

Hena spoke with Betsy McCaughey, founder of The Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, who told her that hospital patients need to be more proactive and protect themselves by insisting that doctors and nurses wash their hands before coming anywhere near them…

SOT – Betsy McCaughey
“It’s hard to do. Patients are intimidated by those white coats and those nurses’ uniforms – but you could be saving your life by asking them to do that.” (:07)

VO – Hena Daniels
“Also, doctors should wipe their stethoscopes in between patients. (:04)

SOT – Betsy McCaughey
“Bring a canister of beach wipes…” (:02)

VO – Hena Daniels
“Research shows wiping down surfaces around the hospital bed can reduce some infections by as much as 80 percent.” (:06)

SOT – Betsy McCaughey
“Wipe the high-touch surfaces: the bed rails, the over-the-bed table, the call button, the television clicker…” (:07)

VO – Hena Daniels
“Other steps patients can take: choose a hospital and surgeon with low infection rates – and days before surgery, bathe with chlorhexidine soap, which can remove harmful bacteria that may be on your skin. Heather Brighton had a knee replacement in 2013. Two days later, she knew something was terribly wrong. She picked up a life-threatening infection called ‘C. diff’ while recovering in the hospital. Brighton calls her experience a big wakeup call…” (:25)

SOT – Heather Brighton
“I think hospitals try to make an effort about keeping a hospital as sterile as possible, but I think more needs to be done.” (:06)

VO – Hena Daniels
“She says patients need to be their own best advocates.” (:03)

The Osgood File. This is Charles Osgood on the CBS Radio Network.