complete their treatment and maximize the effect of antibiotics.
3. Failure to Contain Antibiotic-Resistant Infections in Healthcare Settings
Hospital-acquired infections that spread resistant bacterial strains among
inpatients and healthcare facility staff far exceed what we should be willing
to tolerate. 45 Institution-acquired antibiotic infections can be caused by
breaches in safety and infection control protocol in healthcare settings,
including hospitals and nursing homes. 46 Patients with antibiotic-resistant
infections and non-infected susceptible patients are often kept in close
proximity, even though physical separation of patients is preferred. 47
Deviations from protocol, such as hand washing or sterilization of equipment,
can also have devastating effects. 48 For example, in February 2015, the
UCLA Health System linked the deaths of two patients to a superbug known
as carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) as a result from
unsterilized endoscopy equipment. 49 CRE is resistant to virtually all known
antibiotics and kills up to fifty percent of people infected. 50 Some patients
who acquired these deadly CRE bacteria were fairly healthy and receiving
routine endoscopies. 51 This is a sad example of the health system failures that
result in patients leaving sicker than they had arrived, or worse yet, not
leaving at all.
Seventy percent of hospital-acquired infections are resistant to at least one
antibiotic. 52 Moreover, the FDA has estimated that approximately 150,000
hospital-acquired infections involve resistant strains of bacteria annually,
resulting in an extra $375 million in hospital charges per year. 53 The
Surgical Procedures, 18 CLINICAL INFECTIOUS DISEASES 422, 422 (1994) (emphasizing the
need to determine optimal timing, dose and duration for drug therapy).
45. See Saver, supra note 30, at 432 (explaining that drug-resistant hospital-acquired
infections cause more deaths per year than “HIV-AIDS, Parkinson’s, emphysema, or
46. See generally AMY S. COLLINS, Chapter 41 Preventing Health Care-Associated
Infections in PATIENT SAFETY AND QUALITY: AN EVIDENCE-BASED HANDBOOK FOR NURSES
(2008), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2683/ (discussing systematic antibiotic
controls in health care settings and how they impact the rate of hospital acquired infections).
47. See generally Ruth M. Kleinpell et al., Chapter 42 Targeting Health Care-Associated
Infections: Evidence-Based Strategies in PATIEN T SAFETY AND QUALITY: AN EVIDENCE-BASED
HANDBOOK FOR NURSES: VOL. 2 2-577 (2008), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2
48. Id. at 2-577–78.
49. Bill Briggs, UCLA ‘Superbug’ Patient to Sue Maker of Suspect Endocopes, NBC
NEWS (Feb. 20, 2015), http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/ucla-superbug-patient-
52. BAD BUGS supra note 1, at 3.
53. Saver, supra note 30, at 441.