A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that hospitals around the country are putting patients at risk by overusing powerful antibiotics that foster the creation of dangerous super bacteria. There are various factors that go into the overuse of antibiotics, which are often seen as an easy cure to ailments and are frequently requested by patients.
However, as with overuse of any other type of drug, overprescribing antibiotics can result in damaging side effects for a patient. In this case, the side effects include allergic reactions or developed immunity to the effect of the drug. Along with that, super bacteria are also created in the person's system which can spread throughout a hospital and be dangerous for other patients and staff.
In fact, about 2 million people become ill every year after contracting a super bacteria infection, resulting in 23,000 deaths. This is a shockingly high number, particularly when one considers the fact that as many as 50 percent of cases where antibiotics were prescribed it was the incorrect course of treatment. One major problem is that doctors in many cases are not conducting all of the proper tests and confirming an infection before prescribing an antibiotic.
Doctors must take a second look at their prescribing practices in light of this information and should be held accountable for long term harm to patients who are given powerful medications that they do not need. As the numbers noted above show, becoming a host for a powerful superbug can be deadly, so doctors must take extra care to ensure that patients are not exposed to that risk unnecessarily.
Source: CNBC, “US hospitals can expose you to 'superbugs': CDC,” March 6, 2014.