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Is it Safe to Go to the Hospital?

It?s getting almost as dangerous to go to the hospital as it is to stay out of it, because there's been a huge jump in the amount of dangerous bacteria that's resistant to antibiotics that has been found in hospitals here and abroad. In the U.K. last year, 41% of the hospital Staph infections were found to be resistant to conventional antibiotics. Microbiologist Hugh Pennington says, "?These bugs are building up steam. We're slowly being pushed back."

The recent increase in these cases is partly due to the overuse of antibiotics, which gives bacteria more opportunities to adapt, and partly due to the poor standards of cleanliness at some hospitals. Hospital pay is low and most hospitals are understaffed. Antibiotics are often prescribed for viruses, for which they are ineffective, and patients often don?t finish their complete course of medicine, so that bacterial infections are not killed off completely and have a chance to "learn" how to resist the antibiotics. Antibiotics are also routinely given to cattle and poultry in the U.S., which may cause people who eat beef and chicken to develop antibiotic-resistant infections.

English politician Paul Burstow says, "These drug-resistant bugs hit the vulnerable young and old the hardest, and without urgent attention will continue to blight our hospitals."

In 18th century Europe, doctors used leeches, blistering and blood letting, and were considered to be killers. In order to stay healthy, it was best to stay away from medical care. If it?s becoming dangerous to check into the hospital, that day may be coming again.

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