Chile’s Oldest Hospital Uses Oldest Metal to Protect Youngest Patients Against Harmful Bacteria

Chile’s Oldest Hospital Uses Oldest Metal to Protect Youngest Patients Against Harmful Bacteria
17 Jun 2015

Chile, the world’s largest producer and exporter of copper, has found a new use for its most valuable natural resource: reducing the amount of bacteria that can surround children by installing copper in the Roberto Del Rio Children’s Hospital in Santiago.

The 76-year-old hospital is using the world’s oldest metal for a brand new purpose that was the first of its kind in Latin America. Roberto Del Rio installed antimicrobial copper surfaces throughout its intensive care unit and treatment rooms to lower the bacteria levels in these rooms. This initiative could revolutionize hospital hygiene standards by using surfaces like copper that have been scientifically proven to continuously reduce microbial contaminations by a high percentage when cleaned regularly. Since this installation took place, Brazil, Peru and Mexico have followed suit by installing antimicrobial copper in hospitals, public transportation centers and offices. These installations continue to grow in Europe, Asia and North America as well.

Roberto Del Rio Children's Hospital - 3

Roberto Del Rio is a public hospital that serves the entire country of 15 million people, so this installation has the potential to affect the lives and families of virtually every sick child in the nation. By installing antimicrobial copper bed rails, trolleys, taps, hand rails and door hardware, the hospital is taking steps to increase its infection prevention program, a program whose goal is to ultimately save lives. Copper has an inherent ability to rapidly kill bacteria in between regular cleaning, something other infection prevention technology or methods cannot accomplish.

“This initiative will benefit children who are hospitalized in critical conditions,” explained Doctor Ignacio Hernandez, Director of Roberto del Rio.

For more information about antimicrobial copper installations around the world, visit

*Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly, antimicrobial copper surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of the following bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: MRSA, VRE, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7. Antimicrobial copper surfaces are a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices and have been shown to reduce microbial contamination, but do not necessarily prevent cross contamination or infections; users must continue to follow all current infection control practices.

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