Infectious Diseases

The practice of infectious diseases at Harrington hospital includes the treatment and prevention of infections for inpatients, outpatients, staff, and visitors. Preventing infection, through the scientific discipline known as infection control, is a top priority nationally and at Harrington.

Our Infection Control Practitioners and Infection Control Committee work together to identify and control infections by multiple methods. Some include the application of national guidelines and standards of care identified by national health agencies like the Center for Disease Control. Others include the development and implementation of best practices unique to our patient population and community hospital.

Hospitalized patients are a major concern of the Infection Control team, and the prevention of nosocomial infection (infection that is acquired in the hospital) is the top priority. Accordingly, the majority Harrington hospital's nosocomial infection rates are consistently better than or equal to national averages.

Our on-site Laboratory provides access to state-of-the-art testing, including microbiological cultures, biochemical, and molecular tests. This information provides critical and prompt answers clinicians rely on to accurately diagnose and treat infections.

The majority of common and rare infections can be treated at Harrington either in the outpatient setting, the Emergency Department, or the inpatient setting. Examples include pneumonia, skin, soft tissue and bone infections, blood stream infections, and viral infections such as influenza, meningitis, and cancer-related infections. The hospital manages one of the states' Department of Public Health regional tuberculosis clinics, so patients with this infection do not need to travel elsewhere for diagnosis and treatment.

The hospital's medical staff works closely with our referral tertiary care centers. We routinely refer or transfer patients to these larger facilities, usually after an initial evaluation determines that the resources of a tertiary care facility are best for the patient.

In addition, the hospital provides thousands of vaccinations each year to patients and staff. Vaccination is one of the safest and best ways to prevent infection. Several departments, including Infection Control, Employee Health and Preventive Health, coordinate these activities.