New York hospitals are making people sick at an alarming rate.
The state Health Department “flagged” 52 hospitals for patient-infection rates that greatly exceeded the state average — and 15 of them are in New York City, The Post has learned.
And here’s a scary — and counterintuitive — fact:
“The longer a person stays in the hospital, the higher the total risk of acquiring an infection,” the department says in a report on hospital-acquired infections based on 2015 figures.
Bacterial infections can be deadly because of a growing resistance to drugs, said former Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey, who is part of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, an educational campaign.
“Infections are much more serious because the antibiotics don’t work. We have to reduce drug-resistant infections,” she said.
Hospitals on the state watch list include SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, which had a central line-associated bloodstream-infection rate of 3.43 percent, nearly 3¹/₂ times the state average.
Such infections occur when bacteria or other organisms enter the body through a tube, or central line, placed in a large vein.
Five city-run public hospitals were cited.
Among them was Metropolitan Hospital in East Harlem, whose 11 percent infection rate for hip-replacement surgery was 10 times the average of 1.1 percent.
Meanwhile, Elmhurst Hospital had a 16 percent rate for colon procedures — nearly three times the state average of 5.5 percent.
And Bellevue Hospital had a 5 percent rate of chest infections for coronary artery bypass, well above the average of 1.9 percent.
Lincoln Hospital in The Bronx and Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn had a central-line infection rate that was double the average.
Private hospitals were also singled out.
In Manhattan, Mount Sinai Hospital’s rate of infection from Clostridium difficile — a bacteria that causes diarrhea and intestinal damage — was 48 percentage points higher than average.
Morgan Stanley/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s central-line infection rate was 39 points higher.
In Brooklyn, Brookdale Hospital had surgical site and bloodline infection rates more than 2¹/₂ times the average. Brooklyn Hospital Center and Wyckoff also had higher-than-average infection rates.
In The Bronx, Lebanon Hospital’s infection rate for surgeries was more than double the state average, as was St. Barnabas Hospital’s central-line infection rate.
And in Queens, Flushing Hospital and St. John’s Episcopal in Far Rockaway had central-line infections double the average.
The state Health Department said the consumer report will motivate hospitals to do better.
“New York state will continue our aggressive efforts to help hospitals decrease infection rates and improve patient outcomes,” said spokesman Ben Rosen.
Hospitals contacted by The Post insisted that infection rates were under control.
“We take this matter very seriously and continue to aggressively address this and other concerns with potential to affect any hospital,” said SUNY Downstate spokesman Ron Najman.
Najman said SUNY Downstate is using catheters less likely to cause infections.
A spokesman for NYC Health + Hospitals, which oversees the five flagged public hospitals, said: “The identified 2015 infection rates were all dramatically lowered in 2016. Our hospitals consistently check and recheck to ensure that evidence-based practices to reduce infections are being applied consistently, and when we identify new infections, we react quickly.”
Reps from Brookdale and Lebanon hospitals said infections rates improved last year.
Brian Conway, of the lobbying group for the Greater New York Hospital Association, said, “Hospitals are implementing new tools and protocols to meet the demands of caring for sick, immunocompromised patients. They will never stop striving to lower infection rates.”