February 10, 2010

Avoid the #1 killer
of hospital patients

You may already know that medical errors are the leading cause of death in hospitals. And you also may know that infections are another major cause of hospital death. But you may not know that most infections contracted in hospitals are the result of a simple oversight by hospital doctors - another medical error.

Hospital caused (nosocomial) infections are a huge problem. And this is one of medicine's greatest tragedies. That's because they're easy to prevent and hospital doctors refuse to use a proven infection fighter. Fortunately, if you have to go to the hospital, you don't need to wait for your doctor to help you prevent infections. You can take action on your own.

A recent study followed intensive care unit patients taking antibiotics. The researchers found that probiotics can reduce the colonization of a deadly organism. Specifically, 22 patients took Lactobacillus plantarum 299 in the form of fermented oatmeal gruel. None of these patients suffered from a Clostridium difficile infection. Among patients not getting the gruel, 19% did contract the infection.

A second study looked at protecting those on ventilators from the same infection. The standard of care is to mechanically wash the mouth and then apply the toxic chemical chlorhexidine to kill bacteria in the mouth. It turns out that simply using Lactobacillus plantarum was as effective as the chemical antiseptic.

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Clostridium difficile can cause a horrible colitis. It is apt to occur in those treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics can wipe out normal and beneficial bacteria, allowing toxic infections to flourish. And those on a ventilator are subject to deadly lung infections from aspiration or oral cavity contents.

It never ceases to amaze me that doctors spread antibiotics like water. Yet in the face of research like this and other articles, they still won't use probiotics to treat infections or stop them before they hit. A few pennies worth of a good germ can save hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to treat a bad germ. And it may save your life.

If you have to go to a hospital, make sure you take probiotics before, during, and after your stay. Instead of just swallowing the capsules, open them up and drop the powder into your mouth. Then swish it around before swallowing. I can't guarantee it will prevent every infection, but it will give you a fighting chance. You can order a high quality probiotic from Advanced Bionutritionals by following this link.

Yours for better health and medical freedom,

Ref: Acta Anaesthesiol Scand, 2008; 52(8): 1096-102.

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