A new state bill could help to bring awareness to a serious problem we are now facing as a nation: the superbug epidemic.
As a series of hospitals here in Washington and in other states like California recover from the wave of superbug-related deaths tied to bacteria, a lawmaker is trying to have a bill passed that would force death certificates to list superbug as a cause of death. These changes would be in effect in order to make sure that people are aware of cases of death tied to infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
This move would help officials to record the actual number of superbug-related deaths, giving agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a better idea of what they are dealing with.
According to a study conducted in 2014, infections acquired inside and outside of hospitals are slowly becoming the leading cause of death in hospitals. Scientists suggest hat, in the near future, infection will beat both hart disease and cancer. The data compiled for this study involved patients’ billing records, which give researchers a better idea of what they were treating for. That was done partially because death records do not show infections as a cause of death.
Many people who became ill after being exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria were first patients at hospitals under treatment for other conditions. Many of these victims were killed because of improper handling of medical tools. While many of the cases involving people who died under the same circumstances are never revealed to the media, researchers and now lawmakers believe more should be done so people are made aware of the risks.
In Washington state, Seattle area hospitals exposed patients to superbugs after they were treated with contaminated medical scopes. As companies behind these scopes are forced to redesign their devices, hospitals are also being forced to review their procedures so that similar incidents don’t happen again.
Until we are able to have a better system in place to count the number of deadly infections, we will not be able to make sure patients are protected.
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