Number of deaths related to superbug may be underestimated
Lax Hospital Standards Make it Nearly Impossible to Put Number on Superbug Deaths
In 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institutes of Health announced antibiotic-resistant infections, commonly referred to as superbugs, to be a serious threat to the public health. The task force representing all three agencies formulated a plan to fight the threat; however, fifteen years later, the superbug problem seems to have gotten worse. The task force originally recommended creating a national surveillance plan in order to determine the amount of resources needed to effectively fight antibiotic-resistant infections, but according to The Huffington Post, infection-related deaths are still going uncounted. The lack of statistics on superbug deaths hinders the nation’s ability to determine the exact human and financial toll that infections have, and to implement an effective strategy for the fight. If you believe your loved one died as a result of an antibiotic-resistant infection, or superbug, contact the attorneys of Abbott Law Group today to discuss your legal rights.
Superbug Deaths from Infection
Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics have been around as long as antibiotics themselves. Every time scientists and drug companies develop a new class of antibiotic medications to replace the ones that became obsolete, bacteria would quickly show resistance to the new antibiotics. This back-and-forth struggle has led to the spread of superbug infections in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities where populations that are more susceptible to bacteria are located. In order to prevail in this constant struggle, scientists need an accurate count of superbug-related incidents, showing where and when the infections are contracted and the resulting deaths are occurring. Keeping an accurate count would allow public health agencies to effectively allocate money, manpower, and other resources where they are needed; however, the United States has failed to take even this first basic step in the fight against superbug infection deaths.
The CDC, which is the go-to national public health monitor, and its state health department counterparts lack the political, legal, and financial ability to impose rigorous recording standards for healthcare facilities. This lack of standards allows hospitals and other healthcare facilities to record, or not record, the number of antibiotic-resistant infection deaths in their patients. Drug-resistant infections are left off death certificates for several reasons; however, hospitals have a powerful incentive not to record a hospital-acquired infection. Counting the number of superbug infection deaths directly shows the number of deaths that the hospital, or healthcare facility, is directly responsible for. This documentation of a hospital’s own failures exposes hospitals and medical professionals to potentially costly legal liability, loss of insurance reimbursements, and public relations damage. “You need to know how many people are dying of a disease,” said Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, a Washington-based health policy research organization. “For better or worse, that’s an indicator of how serious it is.” Nevertheless, until federal and state government agencies impose recording standards for healthcare facilities, they will continue the practice of not documenting the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and this nationwide problem will continue to persist.
If you lost a loved on due to any type of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection, or superbug infection, you may be legally entitled to compensation for medical bills, loss of consortium, funeral expenses, or other damages. The attorneys of Abbott Law Group have over thirty years of experience pursuing compensation for hospital negligence on behalf of hundreds of clients throughout the state of Florida. Contact our attorneys today for a free case evaluation to determine if you may be entitled to compensation.