Although there are around two dozen states that currently require hospitals to report when their patients have been sickened by deadly super bugs, California is not one of them. However, Los Angeles County has plans to require its hospitals to do so.
Los Angeles County Hospitals to Report Super Bugs
Super bugs are a strain of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotic drugs. Certain super bugs are so lethal that they can kill half of the patients infected with them. Federal officials have warned that these super bugs are one of the most urgent health threats in the entire country.
The decision by Los Angeles County to require its hospitals to report certain deadly super bugs comes in the wake of a recent report by The Times concerning a resident of Manhattan Beach that fell ill with CRE (carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae) following a surgery in 2014 at Torrance Memorial Medical Center.
The patient’s daughter had contacted the county’s public health department in order to report the infection; however, she was told that the infection was not a reportable disease. The patient ended up dying from the infection after spending the majority of five weeks in the ICU.
According to officials, one of the reasons that the county had stopped requiring hospitals to report super bug infections, such as CRE, back in 2012 was due to resource limitations. Even though it wasn’t required, there were still a few hospitals that would voluntarily submit bacterial samples from patients that were infected by a super bug.
Any reports about a super bug made by hospitals won’t be made public except in rare cases. Health officials plan to look at the data in order to identify clusters of infections so that they can prevent outbreaks. Although hospitals will be required to report CRE infections, they will not be required to report whether the patients stricken by the super bug survived. Nursing homes and clinics are not required to report any super bug cases.
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