California Hospitals Reporting Of Superbug Infections
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, a new bill being introduced by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) would require California hospitals to report outbreaks of superbugs. According to Sen. Hill, “We have a crisis on our hands. The growth of antibiotic resistance threatens our very way of life.”
At this time, hospitals in California are not required to report all superbug infections. State law only requires hospitals to report a small number of hospital-acquired infections. The reporting requirements do not include many of the deadliest superbug infections, including the deadly CRE (carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae) superbug. Approximately one-half of the people who contract CRE die from the infection.
State officials estimate that up to 9,000 Californians die each year from hospital-acquired infections. This number could be significantly lower. If Sen. Hill’s bill passes, it will add another two dozen drug-resistant infections, including CRE, to the list of superbugs that California hospitals must report. Hill claims the bill is needed to ensure that health officials can measure the problem with superbugs to work on ways to try to stop deaths from these infections.
What is a Superbug?
Two million people become ill and 23,000 people die each year from superbugs. In 2015, 11 people contracted CRE in Los Angeles hospitals resulting in two deaths. Contaminated medical tools were blamed for the infections.
A superbug is a term used to describe a bacterial infection that cannot be killed using antibiotics. Other terms used to describe this type of bacteria are multidrug-resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistant infections. These terms are used because the infections are resistant to multiple antibiotics. Some infections may not be resistant to all medications, but they are resistant to two or more antibiotics. The CDC states that the leading factor contributing to the superbug problem is the misuse of antibiotics (using medications when they are not needed or not completing a course of treatment).
WebMD lists several superbugs identified in a 2015 White House report:
- Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)
- Neisseria gonorrhoeae
- Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
- Multidrug-Resistant Acinetobacter
- MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
How Can I Avoid Contracting A Hospital Superbug?
As a patient, there are several things you can do to protect yourself from contracting a superbug:
- Talk to your physician to ensure the correct tests have been performed to make sure the correct antibiotic is being prescribed.
- Do not skip doses of antibiotics.
- Do not stop taking your antibiotics until you complete the course of treatment, even if you feel better.
- Never take antibiotics that have not been prescribed to you by a physician.
- Get recommended vaccines.
- Practice good hand hygiene. Wash hands often with soap and avoid touching your face after touching public surfaces.
- If you do not see a hospital staff member wash their hands upon entering your room, ask the person to wash their hands before treating you.
Contact a Fresno, CA Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you believe you or your loved one has fallen ill because of a hospital-acquired superbug, contact a Fresno medical malpractice attorney immediately. You may be entitled to recover compensation for your damages; however, you have a limited time to file your claim.