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Vt. hospital saving lives by preventing infections

By By WILSON RING

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Health care providers at Vermont's largest hospital have developed techniques that reduce the number of potentially fatal infections that a generation ago were considered an inevitable byproduct of treating acutely ill patients.

It's all in the details of ensuring everything remains sterile and training and retraining doctors and nurses at Burlington's Fletcher Allen Health Care in the best way to prevent infections from the use of central venous catheters.

The number of patients who develop infections has dropped to about a tenth of the national average in the two years since the procedures changed.

Dr. Gilman Allen says it's a task that involved everyone. It has meant breaking old habits and giving nurses the power to challenge doctors when they are performing the procedure improperly.

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