Saturday, December 6, 2008

C. Difficile outbreak in Niagara Falls

The St. Catharines Standard reported in “C. difficile outbreak at Falls hospital” (Dec.6, 2008):

“The Niagara Health System has declared a Clostridium difficile outbreak on one of the inpatient wards at Greater Niagara General Hospital.

C. difficile is a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions.

Healthy people don’t usually contract the disease, but sick people and the elderly have an increased chance of infection. For that reason, it’s one of the most common diarrheal infections in hospitals and long-term-care facilities.

Because health-care workers and visitors can spread the disease from one patient to another, contact precautions have been put in place in the affected unit of the hospital.”


Will Liberals Dalton McGuinty, David Caplan, Kim Craitor, or Jim Bradley explain why these C. diff. outbreaks are still occurring in their government-run health-monopoly? These Liberals couldn’t be bothered to conduct an independent investigation into the continuing C. diff. outbreak in Ontario, which has killed over 500 patients, and which has now shown up in Niagara.

Take a look back not even three months ago to this story by Keith Leslie, “McGuinty rejects demands for investigation into C. difficile deaths in Ont.” (CP; Toronto Star; Sept.24, 2008):

Premier Dalton McGuinty rejected Opposition demands for an independent investigation into C. difficile deaths in Ontario hospitals Wednesday, insisting there is nothing more to be learned about how to prevent the spread of the infectious disease.

Progressive Conservative health critic Elizabeth Witmer wanted to know why the Liberal government is "stonewalling" the public's right to know the full extent of the deadly outbreak by blocking an investigation.

"What are you afraid of?" Witmer asked McGuinty in the legislature. "We have over 500 deaths in just a fraction of our hospitals and you refuse to take action."

The Conservatives say C. difficile has killed more than 500 people in only 22 of Ontario's 157 hospitals, and they want a 30-to 90-day investigation to find the true extent of the problem across the province, noting the Liberals haven't backed away from other inquiries.

"They support the listeriosis inquiry (after 18 deaths). They called for the SARS inquiry - that was 44 deaths," Witmer said. "We know there were more than 500 deaths from C. difficile, and yet they don't want to get to the root cause.

"It demonstrates negligence and I think it demonstrates a lack of understanding that the public has a right to know why these people died. People are going into the hospital for elective surgery and they're dying of C. difficile. Why?"

McGuinty said hospitals now know how to protect against the spread of C. difficile, and he noted that medical experts say an inquiry would not tell them anything they don't already know.

"The experts that we hear from, both here in Ontario and from south of the border, (say) we have a good understanding of C. difficile and the manner in which it is spread," McGuinty told the legislature.

"The next thing that we could and must do is to make information public about the incidents of C. difficile in our hospitals, and that's what we plan to do."

All hospitals in Ontario will be required to report the number of C. difficile cases - but not deaths - starting later this month.

But Witmer said that should have been made a mandatory requirement when the infectious disease first appeared in the province five years ago, and it still won't reveal how the outbreak started.

"In Quebec they started this mandatory reporting four years ago," she said. "This government has known since the fall of 2003 when there was an outbreak in Peterborough that C. difficile was present in this province. They've been warned for five years to deal with it and they haven't."

The New Democrats want Ontario's ombudsman to have oversight of hospitals so he can look into complaints from families who have lost loved ones to C. difficile and help prevent more outbreaks in the future, but they may end up supporting the Conservatives' demand for an investigation.

"We're bordering on siding with the Conservatives; it all depends on how many new cases are unveiled and how much more we learn (when the mandatory reporting starts)," said NDP health critic France Gelinas.

"If we start to see other hospitals having similar problems ... then it would be warranted."


Who in Ontario - besides arrogant Liberals - can still seriously believe that the Ombudsman should NOT be allowed permanent investigative access to the Liberal-run health-monopoly’s hospitals?

Jim Bradley, the Liberal health-monopolist MPP from St. Catharines, refuses to call for the Ombudsman to investigate his health system’s hospitals. Bradley and his Liberals must be frightened at what might be uncovered: better to cover their Liberal asses by taking chances with patient health and keeping their hospital system operations shielded from outside scrutiny - and, naturally - protected from subsequent accountability.

Patients have no other hospitals to go to except the C. diff.-infected ones run by McGuinty and his secretive health-monopolists. Patients should have a reasonable expectation that their visit to a McGuinty-run hospital would not put them at risk of dying from C. diff!

McGuinty smugly claimed in September there is ‘nothing more to learn’ about how to contain C. diff. outbreaks, but it actually looks as if McGuinty learned nothing: now in December we have another outbreak, right in Niagara.

Why should we take McGuinty’s word that his claim is actually true? His word is prejudiced; it is the word of one who is in a conflict-of-interest: it is McGuinty and his Liberal majority government who for five years have legislated, funded, directed, and run Ontario’s health-monopoly - a no-other-patient-choice-by-state-decree monopoly - which has killed over 500 C. diff.-infected patients.

Why are McGuinty’s Liberals hiding their health-system from Ombudsman scrutiny?

What independent corroboration do Ontarians have that McGuinty’s Liberal-run health-monopoly has actually done its due diligence to mitigate the risks?

Did McGuinty’s single-payer health-funding model, along with his health budget rationing, impede a full and proper implementation of C.diff. prevention controls in his government-run system? How can anyone know?

McGuinty’s words can't be trusted.

McGuinty’s Liberal Healthcare Duplicity is glib ideological style over substance. (see also: Another C. dif outbreak in Ontario: why aren't Liberals held willfully negligent?)

If one more patient unexpectedly contracts C. diff. and dies – will any secretive Liberal be found liable for negligence causing death?
(see also here, story from 2011, almost three years later)

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