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Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

When they are admitted into a hospital as a patient, the last thing a person wants is to end up sicker than they were to begin with. Sadly, however, in the last few years there has been a rapid increase in the number of cases where this is exactly what has happened.

Antibiotic Resistant Infections

The prevalence of cases of antibiotic resistant infections has been on the rise in both the United States and abroad recently, and while the evolution of drug resistant strains of a variety of common types of pathogens has been occurring for decades, largely due to overprescription of common medications such as penicillin and cephalosporin class medications as well as the tendency of patients to not finish a course of prescription medications after they begin feeling better, new and much more dangerous strains of drug resistant bacteria have been developing in hospital environments. Due to an evolutionary environment that includes some of the strongest medications currently available, and largely immunosuppressed hosts, these new strains are significantly more dangerous, and evolve significantly more quickly than those that have been encountered in the past.

In a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the worst of the new infections include Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), drug-resistant gonorrhea, and Clostridium difficile (C. diff), some strains of which are shown to have over a 50 percent fatality rate.

Prevalence

In the United States over 2 million people contract a drug resistant infection every year, and of those about 23,000 die from it. And these numbers are growing: last year there were reports of CRE infections in 38 states.  A decade ago it was only reported in one.  The CDC estimates that the yearly cost of additional medical expenses caused by drug resistant infections runs around $20 billion, with economic costs for lost productivity averaging around an additional $35 billion.

The Threat Of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

The evolution of antibiotic resistant pathogen strains brings with it a threat greater than just their lethality rate.  Currently, strains exist that are resistant to all or nearly all medications presently available, and some of these strains are capable of spreading their resistance to other, non-resistant, strains of much more common bacteria such as E.coli.  Antibiotic resistant versions of these much more common bacteria showing up “in the wild” could have truly catastrophic results.

Causes

The development and spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in hospitals is largely preventable: often a patient will contract these infections because of negligent policies on the part of the hospitals, or the negligent actions of medical staff. Proper attention to non-infection protocols can prevent the bacteria from spreading.  By being attentive to sanitation procedures, and using techniques to prevent the spread of disease that have been around for over a hundred years – since the development of germ theory in the 1860s – hospital staff can prevent patients from being infected with these highly lethal infections.

Contact A Miami Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or a loved one developed an antibiotic resistant infection while at a hospital or other medical facility, it is likely that it could have been prevented.  At the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. in Miami, our legal team has the knowledge and experience you need to get the compensation you deserve for your injury.  Contact us today online or by telephone at 305-371-3111 to discuss your situation and learn about your options.

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