12/20/10

Overcrowded hospitals = more superbugs. But the bed closures continue.

The Civic and General campuses of the Ottawa Hospital are dealing with outbreaks of anti-biotic resistant superbugs.  And medical experts are blaming hospital overcrowding.

Dr. Kathy Suh, the hospital's director for infectious diseases said medical staff have taken steps to isolate those with the infections to prevent further spreading.

"We try to identify patients who have these early, admit them to private rooms where possible," said Suh.

But here, as elsewhere, that is not so easy.

"The factors that have led to this largely have to do with the volume of patients we are admitting to the hospital," said Suh. "We are quite often over capacity, but that does provide challenges in being able to isolate patients in private rooms as we would like to.

Both campuses are fighting VRE, and the hospital expects about ten times more cases than normal. The Civic campus is also dealing with MRSA and C. Difficile.

It's good to see that the media is beginning to pick up on the connection between hospital overcrowding and superbugs.   Both the CBC and the Ottawa Sun reported this story, and these reports are the second major report in Ontario that has focused on this aspect of the outbreaks (earlier, similar reports emerged about overcrowding and an outbreak at the Sault Area Hospital). 

Hospital bed occupancy is well over 90% in Ontario, even as the Ontario government closes down more beds. 

As usual, the hospital said it has increased cleaning and housekeeping of patient rooms and equipment in response to the outreaks. 

dallan@cupe.ca

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