7/9/11

There is no superbug panic -- but there are some reasonable demands

Commenting on a Niagara superbug rally Wednesday, the Ontario Hospital Association CEO complained that unions and politicians were being unhelpful, "basically turning  it into a panic situation".  

Hmm -- I don't get a sense of panic -- just a bona-fide concern in the community about the outbreak and the fact that the community wasn't informed about deaths of patients infected with C. Difficile at two sites until long after they occurred. I think the hospitals should accept that is a legitimate feeling in the community and encourage government to require standardized reports. 

Short of that, I think there is going to be more hard feelings in other communities.   Consider this:

  • Allison McGeer, director of infection control at Mount Sinai Hospital, says a new virulent strain of C. Difficile detected only in the past few years will kill 250 people in Ontario this year — about 10 times as many as a decade ago.
  • The Globe and Mail reports that there were C. Difficile outbreaks at one in fourteen hospitals  in May  -- that would be about 11 hospitals.  In some the outbreak may have ceased, the Globe reports, but other new outbreaks have started.  (Here's my count of where outbreaks are reported: Peterborough Regional, Guelph General, Osler, the Toronto East General,the Hotel Dieu Shaver, and, of course, Niagara Health System. The others remain unknown to me. Anyone else?)
Moreover, I think it might benefit the hospitals to work with the demands from local communities for better (or at least adequate) hospital services.

Especially now.

The hospitals face very troubling funding plans for the period after the election: according to the Auditor General even the Liberal plan (as opposed to the even more wretched PC plan) will mean they will have to get $1 billion in 'savings' in two years. (Something the AG rightly doubts they can do.)   

Rather than complain, it might be more useful to get on board and say what is surely the truth: with that sort of funding plan, the problems we are seeing now (with superbugs, with high bed occupancy, with inadequate resources for support services, with cancelled surgeries, with ambulance offload delay, with long term care wait lists, with insufficient rehabilitation and complex continuing care, etc.)  are going to get much worse.  


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