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Public deserves reliable reports on superbug deaths

St. Catharines General Hospital has had three more patients with the C. Difficile die.  This brings the total to eight patients who have died. Since the outbreak was declared May 28, there has been 29 patient cases diagnosed, according to the Niagara This Week.   

Anne Atkinson, vice-president of patient services for the NHS, said the patients' deaths will be reviewed to determine the role C. Difficile played (or didn't play) in the death: was  it the cause of death, a contributing factor, or was the death unrelated to C. Difficile.  The regional coroner is also being notified of all deaths as is the Region's public health department.

Well this is interesting.  OCHU calls for the government to require hospitals to report this  information to the public, and in particular deaths of people infected with superbugs.  

So far the government refuses.  Judging by the claims made by St. Catharines General, however, this information can be and is collected.   

As it stands now, if the public hears anything at all about these deaths it is due to the kindness (or public relations) of the hospital.  And if hospitals do make such reports at all, the quality and detail of the information will almost certainly vary.  Certainly there is no checking of the accuracy. 

The public needs and deserves reliable, standardized, and informative reports on such deaths.  Without that, their input into this important aspect of public policy will be limited.  


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