'Superbugs' kill more than 35K people in the US each year. Doctors may be partially to blame, study suggests.
As the medical community finds treatments to combat the coronavirus, another deadly enemy continues to lurk in hospitals across the country: antibiotic-resistant infections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls antibiotic resistance one of the “biggest public health challenges of our time,” and a new study suggests doctors may be partially to blame for its prevalence.
The study, published last week in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Network Open, found more than half of antibiotics prescribed in hospitals were not consistent with recommendations, alarming health experts who say inappropriately prescribing medications contributes to antibiotic resistance.
"We’re in an antibiotic crisis. Many call this the 'silent pandemic' going on concurrently with the coronavirus pandemic," said Dr. Debra Goff, infectious clinical pharmacist and professor of pharmacy who leads antibiotic resistance efforts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
In the agency's study, researchers looked at 1,566 patients who received antibiotics and found that 55.9% shouldn’t have received them based on practice guidelines.
Guidelines didn’t support prescribing antibiotics to 79.5% of patients who were treated for community-acquired pneumonia and 76.8% of patients who were treated for a urinary tract infection.
Prescriptions were flagged if there were no documented signs or symptoms of infection, no lab results or if antibiotics were prescribed longer than necessary.
Out of the patients that may have been unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics, more than 50% lacked documented infections signs or symptoms and nearly 60% were given medications for an excessive duration.
Patients are often given antibiotics when they’re hospitalized and then prescribed a new course of antibiotics when they’re discharged, Goff says, leading them to take medications for up to two weeks.
“These football scores of antibiotic duration – 7, 10, 14 days – were not developed based on clinical outcome studies. Those durations were just how the researchers designed the study,” she said. “(But) there’s data clearly showing that these traditional durations are no longer necessary … shorter is better.”
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Taking antibiotics longer than necessary increases a patient's chance of developing antibiotic resistance, said Dr. Ryan Shields, an infectious disease pharmacist and associate director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s antibiotic stewardship program.
This occurs when germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them, according to the CDC.
Studies have shown patients with antibiotic-resistant infections are at an increased risk of worse clinical outcomes, such as severe disease and death, compared to patients with infections that can be treated with antibiotics.
This may be due to significantly longer hospital stays, high risk of treatment failure and increased risk of undergoing surgery, Goff said. According to the CDC, more than 35,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant infections in the U.S. each year.
They’re not only deadly, but costly. According to a January report by the CDC and the University of Utah, six multi-drug resistant pathogens are estimated to cost the U.S. more than $4.6 billion annually.
“Every day they’re in the hospital consuming resources," Goff said. "Add it all up … antibiotic resistance costs a lot of money.”
Additionally, antibiotics that specifically address antibiotic-resistant pathogens are more expensive than traditional antibiotics, running at a price of about $400 to $1,000 a day compared to about $25.
The CDC study was conducted between 2011 through 2015, which means prescribing practices have likely changed since the report, said Shields of UMPC. In 2017, the Joint Commission put into effect a new accreditation standard for antimicrobial stewardship programs in hospitals to educate staff and practitioners about antibiotic resistance.
However, it’s not just doctors who carry the responsibility of combating antibiotic-resistant infections, health experts say. Oftentimes, the main reason patients visit their doctors is to get an antibiotic prescription.
“When you’re paying for a doctor’s visit, many are going to the doctor for the antibiotic. They pressure the doctor,” Goff said. “That’s where the consumer and patients also need education.”
Critical race theory at it again
Cigna — one of the country's largest heath insurance providers — has reportedly encouraged hiring managers to avoid hiring white males at the company.
What are the details?
According to a Friday report from the Washington Examiner, employees at the company have been "asked not to consider white men in hiring decisions."
Citing leaked training documents and chat logs, the outlet noted that Cigna employees are also expected to undergo "racist and discriminatory" sensitivity training on topics such as "white privilege," "gender privilege," and "religious privilege."
"Chat logs between an employee and a hiring manager viewed by the Washington Examiner detail an incident where a minority candidate with strong credentials performed exceptionally well in an interview," the outlet noted. "When that employee suggested to the hiring manager that the company wave the candidate through to the next step in the process, the hiring manager dismissed the candidate under the assumption he was white."
"After learning that the candidate belonged to a minority group, the manager said she was excited to hire him, despite learning virtually nothing else about his background," the Examiner continued.
One employee told the outlet, "Given the hiring practices they have in place where white, male candidates are blocked, regardless of qualifications, I have to say, 'Yes, there's obvious discrimination at this company.'"
On another occasion, an employee reportedly suggested a candidate with "years of industry experience." The only problem? The candidate was reportedly white and thus could not be interviewed "because he didn't meet the diversity criteria."
Employees are also encouraged to avoid using certain terms — such as "brown bag lunch" and "no can do" — in order to make their speech more accommodating, inclusive, and positive.
In an internal memo obtained by the outlet, Susan Stith, the Cigna Foundation's vice president for diversity, equity, inclusion, and corporate responsibility, said, "Our inclusive culture at Cigna means that we're working hard to ensure everyone feels respected, welcome, and like they belong. This extends to the words we use, including understanding when certain terms might be perceived as negative or hurtful, and being intentional about choosing positive alternatives."
The company — which boasts more than 73,000 employees across the world — has also reportedly recommended workers inform themselves on inclusivity and racism by reading books about white fragility and more.
The health care company did not respond to multiple requests for comment, the Examiner noted.
Monday, March 22, 2021 2:40AM
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A man was shot and killed on Sunday night in Philadelphia's Logan section, according to police.
It happened along the 1800 block of Lindley Avenue around 9 p.m.
Authorities say officers found the 26-year-old man shot at least 20 times across the body. He was rushed to an area hospital where he later died.
No arrests have been made at this time.
This is America future.
Russia called its Washington envoy back to Moscow on Wednesday for consultations after President Biden referred to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, as a “killer” and said Putin would “pay a price” for meddling in the 2020 US election.
“The Russian ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Antonov, has been invited to come to Moscow for consultations conducted with the aim of analyzing what should be done and where to go in the context of ties with the United States,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to reports.
Biden made the comments about Putin during an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” following the release of a declassified report from the Director of National Intelligence that claimed the Kremlin interfered in the presidential election.
“He will pay a price. We had a long talk, he and I, I know him relatively well,” Biden said. “And the conversation started off, I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.’ ”
“Look, the most important thing dealing with foreign leaders in my experience — and I’ve dealt with an awful lot in my career — is just know the other guy.”
Asked if he thinks Putin is “a killer,” Biden responded, “I do.”
Biden also claimed he and the Russian leader had a conversation about the fact that he doesn’t believe Putin has a soul.
Biden said he told the Russian leader, “I said, ‘I looked through your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul,’ ” the president told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos — and Putin looked back and replied, “We understand each other.”
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