Age of Superbugs…

The current hospital outbreak of superbug carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) connected to the death of two patients at a UCLA hospital is unnerving some patients scheduled to undergo the same procedure in other hospitals as well. CNN reported on Thursday, February 19, 2015 that the infection was caused by medical endoscopes or duodenoscopes manufactured by Olympus, which the FDA reportedly admits “cause challenges for cleaning and high-level disinfection.” The hospital has contacted other 179 patients who had undergone the same procedure from October 2014 to January 2015.
For almost a century now the medical profession has been using antibiotics to combat and control bacteria that make people sick. But in recent years these antibiotics seem to have lost their power to destroy some of the bacteria. The way these antibiotics have been used sometimes seems to have contributed in the creation of drug-resistant bacteria which we now know as superbugs. Superbugs are strains of bacteria that have developed the ability to resist many forms of antibiotics. The CDC claims that each year 2 million people are infected with a drug-resistant bacteria of some sort and 23,000 of them die due to the infection- in the United States alone.1
Antibiotics are among the most common types of medicinal drugs prescribed by clinicians to their patients. Sometimes antibiotics are given to livestock for disease prevention and for growth stimulation. But these antibiotics are not always a necessary treatment regimen, and their over-use as well as misuse ends up creating drug-resistant bacteria. Sometimes people take antibiotics when they come down with the flu, but antibiotics cannot destroy the flu-causing virus. They are not able to fight a viral infection. In these cases, the antibiotics only succeed in destroying a wide variety of bacteria in the body including the ‘good’ bacteria that help with the digestive process and general well-being. But some types of bacteria are tough enough to survive this form of “treatment.” They seize this as an opportunity to grow stronger and to multiply. Sometimes they even spread to other people.
As more people continue to take unnecessary antibiotics, the bacteria become more and more drug-resistant and spread, and may even share their drug-resistant characteristics or traits with other bacteria, making them stronger still while the antibiotics become less and less efficacious.
This places a responsibility on each one of us to take antibiotics only when necessary and in a manner prescribed by the healthcare provider. It is important to refrain from insisting on antibiotics against the advice of a provider.

1 National Institutes of Health (2014). Stop the Spread of Superbugs.

2 Ibid.

Psychiatry Now Incorporating Spirituality in Treatment Regimens

Astonishing statistics from the World Health Organization claim that approximately 450 million people, worldwide, are reported to have one type of psychiatric disorder or another (2005). Further, neuropsychiatric disorders account for 13% of all Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost due to diseases. Psychiatric disorders form 50% of the leading causes of disability and early or premature death, worldwide. In the United States, the CDC claims that 25% of the adult population have a mental illness. Historically, determinants of psychiatric disorders have been limited to biological, psychological, socioeconomic factors; and even interaction among them. But one more factor has been added to the list of determinants; spirituality. When evaluating a patient with mental illness, psychiatrists at the Patron of the Royal College of Psychiatrists are now taking into account the patient’s spiritual experiences for etiology, diagnosis, prognosis, and planning the treatment regimen for the disorder. This is predicated upon the premise espoused by Murray and Zentner that in every human being there exists a spiritual dimension…which searches for answers about the infinite. This search becomes more acute during times of emotional distress (Culliford, 2002). A survey of nurses revealed that meeting patients’ spiritual needs is correlated with overall positive health outcomes.

In an era saturated with unmitigated skepticism about the metaphysical and the spiritual it is fascinating to discover that physicians are retracing their steps and are re-establishing the relevance and role played by spiritual beliefs in their treatment options. The spirituality of an individual empowers them to find meaning and peace-it places them back into the hands that created them (which is the best place to be at any time). This usually results in improved outcomes. Peace is a critical ingredient in making crucial medical decisions and in emotional stability and well-being. Deeply religious patients often find meaning and hope even in their illness, which dispels any form of dysfunctional beliefs about their illness. When Jesus healed people He made them whole. He still works to under gird the healing process with His eternal power (if given a chance). Severing the spiritual aspect of the patient from their treatment regimen leaves a vital facet of their life vulnerable, unhealed and susceptible to recurrence of the illness.Learn more about this from the book, The Perfect Prescription.