November 18, 2015

We’re delighted that PLF Advocates Council member Meghan Mimnaugh published her first op-ed today in Rhode Island’s Providence Journal. Please read, comment and share it widely. – Christian

Overusing antibiotics can kill

By Meghan Mimnaugh

Since Alexander Fleming first discovered penicillin in 1928, antibiotics have revolutionized health care, nearly eliminating deaths from minor infections and making possible many medical advancements, from chemotherapy to organ transplants.

But the power and success of these drugs has, unfortunately, led us to over- and misuse them while we ignore potentially life-threatening side effects.

Nov. 16 to 20 is Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I encourage you to increase your awareness of the smart use of antibiotics this week. You probably already know that some bacteria are increasingly resistant to the antibiotics used to treat them. Often they are referred to as antibiotic-resistant organisms or “superbugs.” But Clostridium difficile (or C. diff) is one superbug that few Americans or Rhode Islanders are familiar with.

While not a resistant bacteria per se, C. diff involves infections that are most often precipitated by the use of an antibiotic. C. diff grows in the gut when antibiotics have eliminated the healthy bacteria that live there. The resulting infection causes diarrhea that can result in periods of missed work, life-altering complications, and, for 29,000 Americans each year, death.

I learned about C. diff the hard way. In 2012, my mom died from a C. diff infection during a hospital visit in which she received antibiotics for pneumonia. She died less than 12 hours after being diagnosed.

It’s my hope that our loss can help others by raising awareness of C. diff and advocating for everyone to use antibiotics wisely.

Read the full story at the Providence Journal

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