Sunday, May 11, 2008

Disaster at the National Health. 18 people died in the intensive care unit at the 12 de Octubre university teaching hospital in Madrid, one of the city's most important, due to an outbreak of the Acinetobacter baumanii bacteria, which is antibiotic-resistant. Hospital management denies the patients died directly from the bacterial infection, but rather from something else. I'm not sure what the difference is; they were infected with the bacteria and they died.

El Pais says that more than 250 people were infected, 101 have died so far, and 18 of the deaths are directly attributable to the bacteria. The outbreak lasted from February 2006 to October 2007. The authorities finally tore down the ICU and built a completely new one.

Enough of a scandal has been stirred up that deputy prime minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega announced from Niger that the prosecutor's office would investigate.

Said Juan Carlos Montejo, an ICU doctor, "(The outbreak) should not cause alarm or call into question the health care offered, but rather teach us about an important clinical problem around the world: bacterial infections contracted in hospital are more and more resistant."

What a load of shit. If 250 people get infected over nearly two years with a deadly bacterium, the quality of the health care provided at that hospital is lousy and somebody needs to pay.

I will point out that my mother-in-law died from a generalized bacterial infection she picked up in a Barcelona National Health hospital. We gave her to them with a broken leg, and they gave her back to us dead.

This is going to be a political football, with the PSOE blaming the PP regional government in Madrid, and the PP blaming the PSOE Ministry of Health. The PP also claims that El Pais timed its report in order to distract attention from the Coslada municipal police mafia scandal, which I doubt.

De la Vega weirdness from Niger: She posed for a photo with a Nigerese businessman and three women, who later turned out to be the gentleman's wives. So De la Vega announced she was "horrified." Wait, what's the problem? It's Niger. They're Muslims. Polygamy is not only legal, but a cultural tradition. I thought Socialists were supposed to be all, like, multicultural and stuff. I really don't get the horror: has she never met a Gulf oil sheik and his entourage? Marbella's full of them.

By the way, the Nigerese businessman in question is partners with a Spanish businessman, which is why De la Vega was introduced to him. Their company processes "chufas," called tiger nuts in English, and it employs 500 women directly, while buying its chufas from some 3000 Nigerese farmers. I would say that these two guys have done more good for more people than De la Vega has in her life.

(Note: I was thinking about attempting a joke along the lines of "If my hand was full of tiger nuts, I'd let go really quick," but decided not to.)


Dave Barnes said...


You teach English.

"a deadly bacteria"
should be
"a deadly bacterium"


John said...

Yeah, I know, but this is an amateur blog that I write as quickly as I can, and sometimes there's not much time for editing. There are two incorrectly structured sentences in that post as well, and the other day I wrote "last rights" for "last rites."

I'll go back and fix that stuff tomorrow.

John Costello said...

The various superbugs in hospitals seem to becoming more common world wide. In both Canada and Britain it involves health care workers who are not washing their hands between patients (it was a plot element in the movie called, I believe, "Waiting for the Barbarians,") and comments about the failure of British 'nurses' to change bedpans and keep the facilities clean have gotten onto the internet (in the movie "Atonement" you see the 1940s nurses mopping the floors.

Akaky said...

It's almost as though poor Ignaz Semmelweis never lived. He couldnt get doctors to wash their hands back in the 1840's and now that they know better, they still won't wash their hands. Strange how some things dont ever change, aint it?