Earlier this year I spent a few days at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with my daughter who was having an EEG done. On our way home, I learned that there had been an outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant bacteria while we were there, that it had infected seven people and killed two of them. My daughter and I were fine – the infection having been limited to people using a particular kind of duodenoscope.
When the story hit the news, I fully expected nationwide outcry similar to that inspired by the recent measles “epidemic” that began at Disneyland. That outbreak killed no-one, yet set the country on fire with calls for mandatory vaccination and even prison sentences for parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. Drug-resistant “superbugs” kill nearly 15,000 people a year in the US and a recent report predicts that they could kill as many as 300 million people by 2050. Surely this far more deadly health threat would lead to similar widespread outrage and calls for those even remotely responsible to be held accountable.
I expected to see editorials calling for anyone who engaged in the overuse of antibiotics to be shunned by society; doctors who prescribed them unnecessarily (around 50% of all prescriptions by some estimates) to be censured and perhaps lose their licenses; parents who asked for antibiotics every time their child had an ear infection – despite the fact that the vast majority are not bacterial and are unaffected by antibiotics – to be thrown in jail for endangering the rest of us. But I saw nothing along these lines. Why not?
Read more »