Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Hospital Superbugs

According to the Independent (June 8th, 2005), citing a study by Professor Mark Wilcox (Leeds University, and a member of the Hospital Infection Society), hundreds of hospital wards are being closed, and the UK National Health Service is losing £160m a year because of the lethal bug Clostridium Difficile.

Clostridium Difficile benefits from two interacting forces.

Overuse of antibiotics This produces stronger bacteria and weaker patients.
Complex targets Government targets on hospital infections have focused on MRSA, which has led to other hospital infections being neglected. Furthermore, patients are shuffled around the hospital to satisfy healthcare productivity targets, which increases the rate of infection. Meanwhile, hospital cleaning is driven by cost targets.

How Clostridium Difficile wins by default
As with many complex ecosystems, there are some winners and losers. Does that mean the purpose of this complex system is to promote the interests of Clostridium Difficile? What does POSIWID tell us about the possibility of effective interventions into this complex system?

See previous post on Innovation and MRSA: When Knowledge is Free ...

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