Posted on December 7, 2011
This entry was posted in Imaging Equipment.
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Contracting the superbug C. difficile in the hospital increases a patient’s stay by an average of six days, putting serious financial strain on Canada’s health-care system, a new study shows.
C. difficile is a bacteria found in feces that causes severe diarrhea. It’s extremely common in hospitals because people usually contract it after taking antibiotics, which can kill good bowel bacteria and allow C. difficile to grow.
What’s more, the bacteria can spread through surfaces like toilets, handles and bedpans, and hospital staff can spread it by not wearing gloves or washing their hands.
It’s the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitals, and one in 10 patients who get it will die, regardless of how sick they were beforehand.
And according to the study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, it’s filling up already-crowded hospitals and draining the health-care system.
The study, led by Dr. Alan Forster of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, looked at hospital admissions between 2002 and 2009.
During this time, 1,393 patients contracted C. difficile and they spent 34 days in hospital compared with eight days for patients who did not have the superbug.
“Hospital-acquired C. difficile significantly and independently prolongs the duration of a patient’s stay in hospital,” the study notes.
“Although a formal cost analysis is beyond the scope of our study, the estimated total cost of caring for patients who acquire this organism in hospital is substantial.”
In a commentary accompanying the study, U.K. doctors David Enoch and Sani Aliyu say the rate of infection can be cut by making sure heath-care workers practise good hygiene and don’t overprescribe antibiotics.
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