BATON ROUGE, Louisiana. According to Live Science, drug-resistant bacteria have appeared in hospitals in 27 states. These bacteria are the greatest risk to vulnerable members of the population: patients in intensive care, patients recovering from surgery, and others who have been admitted to the hospital for infections, cancer, or for immune deficiencies.
According to the Centers for Disease Control antibiotic resistance among bacteria develops over time when patients are prescribed antibiotics. Just taking antibiotics can increase your risk of contracting drug-resistant bacteria. While antibiotics can be life-saving if you have a microbial infection, the CDC reports that in 50% of cases, patients don't need antibiotics.
What can we do to prevent drug-resistant bacteria? Basic disease-prevention practices should be used. This includes washing your hands, practicing safe food preparation practices, getting children immunized, and only taking antibiotics when absolutely needed. Hospitals in particular need to practice proper sanitary practices, and while many go the extra mile, some may not be doing enough, which can lead to outbreaks.
While hospital patients are the most at risk of contracting antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the Atlantic reports that we are starting to see resistance among members of the general population. For the first time in North America, patients contracted a strain of gonorrhea that was resistant to last-resort oral antibiotics. When patients don't respond to these kinds of treatments, they may require hospitalization and their bacterial infection is considered drug-resistant. This means that younger and healthier patients may be starting to see the effects of antibiotic resistance outside the hospital.
Doctors have a role to play in antibiotic resistance. After all, the CDC reports that in 50% of cases antibiotics may not be properly prescribed. Or, they may be prescribed when they are not needed. Or, if they are needed, it is important that doctors follow proper dosage protocols and time-lines for treatment.
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones? First off, don't ask for antibiotics and listen to your doctor if he or she tells you that they won't be effective for your case. Secondly, if you are prescribed antibiotics, ask questions. How long should you be taking the medicine? For how many days? If you go on to develop an antibiotic resistant infection after taking your medicines as directed, this could be the result of either a prescription error or incorrect dosage.
Finally, if you or a loved one becomes very sick or gets seriously injured as a result of a drug-resistant antibiotic infection, you may have important rights under the law. For example, you may be entitled to seek damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering if it is discovered that your prescription was incorrect or if a hospital failed to practice standard sanitary protocols.
The Bowling Law Firm are personal injury lawyers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana who work closely with patients who have been hurt due to medical errors or medical malpractice. Visit our firm at https://www.lawbowling.com/ to learn more.
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