Health Care Confidential Ep. 1

A Deadly Fungus In NJ Hospitals

In this premiere episode of Health Care Confidential with Kate McLaughlin, Kate examines a deadly fungus appearing in NJ hospitals. The name of the fungus is Candida Auris. The name candida may sound familiar, because it is the same fungus that gives us athlete’s foot or yeast infections. Although usually Candida can just annoy, in this case it can kill. Half of those who contract this fungus will die within 90 days.

Immune Compromised People Most At Risk

This specific fungus first appeared in Japan in 2009. After that, it rapidly spread across the globe. The first NJ case appeared just 2 years ago. This deadly fungus is multi drug resistant. Hospitals don’t yet know how to eradicate the spores or infection. The commonly used disinfectants fail. In response, hospitals utilize such extreme measures as ripping out everything in the room down to the ceiling tiles. There have been over 600 cases reported around the globe. Although infection is rare, those who already suffer from illness or injury are most at risk. That description exemplifies patients in a hospital.

We’re Number Three

New Jersey ranks third on the list for most infections of this deadly fungus. Currently no regulation exists requiring hospital disclose cases of Candida Auris. A proposed bill in California stalled in the legislature. In other words, a hospital harboring this fungus is protected. However, the public is not. A similar bill in the US Senate also stalled in committee. Remember this is a fungus like mold. Fungal spores live on surfaces for days, even months.

Be Your Own Advocate

Practice observation. Firstly, demand everyone touching you wash their hands. Hand sanitizers don’t work. Secondly, you can request gloves. Thirdly, ask every piece of equipment be cleaned with a bleach wipe. Wipes need surface time to dry. A few extra minutes might save your life. You can also request disposable equipment. Above all, patients must advocate for themselves.