On June 4, 2006, the Dateline NBC television news program aired a segment on the death of a birthing woman at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC. The story has made national news because it has brought to light the problem of infections contracted by hospital patients – and by otherwise healthy birthing women, in particular.

The piece shared the fact that infections contracted in hospitals are the fourth biggest killer in the US, causing as many deaths as auto accidents, breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two million Americans get infections in hospitals each year and an estimated 103,000 of them die. Since most American babies are currently born in hospitals, this problem is getting the attention of expectant parents, as well as professionals and advocates in maternal-child health. It has also drawn renewed attention to birthing options for healthy, low-risk women, such as freestanding birth centers and midwife-attended home births.

For story, go to http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9818616. To find out where your state stands on mandatory reporting of healthcare-associated infections, go to this site

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

For the CDC’s recommendations on protecting patients from contracting healthcare-associated infections, go to http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/patient.html.