The Economic Cost of Antibiotic Resistance: The Cook County Edition

At a recent conference (pdf), I heard Dr. Rebecca Roberts describe the economic cost of antibiotic resistant infections at Cook County’s Stroger Hospital. In a nutshell, it’s terrifying.

The average cost per patient at that hospital is $10,000. The cost of treating an antibiotic resistant infection excluding acute respiratory infections (‘ARI’)–this does not include the average cost of antibiotic sensitive infections–is $1,934. That is, of the $10,000 average cost, $1,934 goes to ‘subsidize’ the cost of antibiotic resistant infections. The $1,934 figure is the low estimate: the average cost per patient may be $2,352. ARI add an additional $807, although the sample size is relatively small (n = 54).
In other words, 27 cents on the dollar of hospital costs goes to treat antibiotic resistant infections. But we’re told that ‘search-and-destroy‘ and other infection control measures are too expensive. Sigh.

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