Judy Dexter’s story is sadly common. She was admitted to the hospital in December 2012 for difficulty breathing. Upon learning that she had a lung infection, Judy was prescribed antibiotics. Three days later, she was suffering from persistent diarrhea. The following six months were hellish for the Dexter family as they struggled to save the woman they considered the “family matriarch.” It’s well-worth reading the entire story to see how fiercely they fought to save Judy, who ultimately succumbed to C. diff on May 3o, 2013.
This year, I’ve heard patient safety advocates and allies in a number of other activist circles invoke the gay-rights struggle as a model for how to make progress for their cause. I hear this flattering comparison, or prescription for how to wage a social movement, with a high degree of personal acuity. And skepticism. When it comes to stopping and preventing the C. diff. epidemic, comparison with advancing LGBT equality is both a spot-on and missed diagnosis, a fit and a misfit.