Wednesday, August 27, 2008

960 Mothers and Babies Exposed to TB in San Francisco (AKA Another Reason to Avoid Hospital Birth)

960 Mothers and Babies Exposed to TB in San Francisco Hospital

This story represents yet another reason to consider homebirth.

Hospital-acquired infections kill more Americans each year than car accidents, breast cancer and AIDS combined. They are the 4th largest killer in the US, with 1 in 20 hospital patients, or 2 million people per year, acquiring a hospital infection. ( Source: Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Perhaps the most horrifying truth about hospital-acquired infections is their primary cause: lack of handwashing.

It seems unthinkable that physicians wantonly allow the spread of infectious disease by not bothering to wash their hands between patients. Despite all their years of training, all their supposed knowledge on how disease is spread, they cannot be bothered to ensure the safety of their patients by faithfully washing their hands.

Even more concerning is the knowledge that they are not dealing with run-of-the-mill bacteria. Hospitals are breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant strains and other "superbugs", including 25 strains with no known cure.

Hospital-acquired infection is one of the hidden dangers of hospital birth, as the family of Julie LeMoult tragically realized.

Hopefully, the mothers and babies exposed to TB in San Francisco will fare better, although each and every one of those mothers and babies will have to undergo the stress of bloodwork and potential exposure to antibiotics, as their families worry over their health and well-being.

I do hope the hospital has realized that all the friends, siblings, and families of these mothers and babies were also potentially exposed to active TB, which significantly raises the number of people placed at risk.

All in all, a costly mistake in so many ways.


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