Now more than ever hospital patients are more at risk of catching infections or superbugs that are untreatable and often deadly.
These organisms are responsible for an estimated 100,000 deaths each year in the nation, and they are spreading like wildfire across the hospitals. In the past if you caught one of these infections you could treat by just taking a common antibiotic. But now superbugs are more of a threat because they've become highly resistant to those antibiotics. You could catch them by just kissing or touching someone.
"I worry more about people entering my room and germs I might catch from occasional people coming in," said a Wichita Falls resident.
Scott Hoyer is United Regional Hospital's Vice President of Quality and Chief Medical Officer. He said superbugs are not a huge problem at his hospital right now but Clostridium Difficile or "C-diff" is the most problematic bacteria that people may get if they go there especially if you have a low immune system.
"It's not terribly resistant. It can be treated quite easily with antibiotics but it has become more frequent in American hospitals and we have experienced that as well here at United Regional," said Hoyer.
He also said the medical staff has been battling superbugs by washing their hands or using anti-bacterial soap before and after they go into a patients room. Using gloves, gowns and masks is also a must for them and it has paid off already.
Hoyer says, "We did have a problem with the bacteria MRSA in this hospital a few years ago but in the last couple of years we've virtually eliminated that superbug through some of the programs that we've instituted."
United Regional is planning on getting some machines that will use ultraviolet rays to kill bacteria before a patient gets settled into a room. But the hospital also needs your help to keep these superbugs away. Hoyer said you should avoid the hospital unless is necessary especially if you already have an infection.
If infected some of the symptoms include skin and intestinal infections, fever, pneumonia, nausea and diarrhea.