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Are some Connecticut hospitals becoming too sterile?

Hospitals are often described as being cold and sterile places. This atmosphere certainly isn’t by accident either. In a place where patients are already struggling with a health issue or have open wounds, infections and the spread of bacteria or other pathogens are a major concern.

It isn’t just the bleached clean walls, beds and machinery that receive attention. Patients are also given antibiotics to help control or kill any harmful bacteria that may find its way into the body. Vital Signs recently published a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that showed that some hospitals may be over-sterilizing patients with too many antibiotics.

The mood of the report fits the old adage of “everything in moderation.” Antibiotics are a good thing, but too many antibiotics and a patient could be put at risk for “infections, allergic reactions and intestinal infections that can be deadly” but have become resistant to current medications.

The report found that some hospitals give patients up to three times the amount of antibiotics than other hospitals. But did you know that reducing the level of antibiotics can actually reduce the number of infections?

Need hard data? The CDC report used Clostridium difficile or C. diff as an example. “Reducing the use of high-risk antibiotics by 30% can lower deadly diarrhea infections by 26%” was a statistic written in the report.

“We have to protect patients by protecting antibiotics,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. The statement leaves room for medical malpractice questions. Amputating the wrong leg is a much clearer mistake, but is this? Does a patient who contracts a drug-resistant strain of bacteria after over-medication have a medical malpractice claim?

It is situations such as this one why injured patients should have a conversation with a Connecticut attorney to determine if they may have a medical malpractice claim.

Source: CNN, “CDC: Hospitals contributing to rise of superbugs,” Katy Mersmann, March 5, 2014

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