This is disconcerting (boldface mine):
Fewer than one in six patients treated with powerful antibiotics for a Clostridium difficile (C. Diff) infection actually had lab-confirmed infections despite high costs and negative outcomes of unnecessary treatments, researchers reported here.
At a 240-bed hospital, over the course of 22 months, 1,971 patients were treated with vancomycin and/or metronidazole for a C. Diff infection, but only 292 of those patients had positive test results for C. Diff, Daniel Barone, PharmD, of Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa, in Mason City, and colleagues reported at the midyear meeting of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists….
The researchers analyzed data from the 1,971 patients treated for C. Diff infections at the 240-bed hospital from February 2012 through November 2013. All of the patients had been in the hospital for at least 3 days and were treated with either vancomycin or metronidazole in IV or oral form.
This means that around 75 patients per month are getting treated with unnecessary antibiotics, including vancomycin, the last line of defense against MRSA. And this is a small hospital: Massachusetts General has over 1,500 beds; Boston’s Brigham and Women’s has almost 800 beds.
It also makes you wonder what is really wrong with these patients. If it’s not C. difficile, then what is it? Potentially, there’s an underlying problem which is going untreated.