Viewpoint: Hospitals must lift veil of secrecy around superbug outbreaks

Hospitals must work to eliminate the "climate of secrecy" that surrounds superbug outbreaks without creating misplaced fear in patients, Matt McCarthy, MD, an infectious disease physician Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times.

At present, the CDC is prohibited from publicly disclosing hospitals undergoing outbreaks of drug-resistant infections due to an agreement with states. To increase transparency into superbug outbreaks, some patient advocates are calling on hospitals to share a list of every superbug found within their facilities. Dr. McCarthy said such a practice would cause many patients to avoid medical care due to fears of acquiring an infection, among other consequences.

Instead, he said "hospitals should train spokesmen to address these issues and states should revisit their reluctance to disclose information." Hospital leaders should also speak openly about how they are addressing superbug outbreaks to keep patients safe.  

"Hospital administrators and government officials do need to be honest about the microbes in our medical centers and explain what is really going on," Dr. McCarthy wrote. "No comment will no longer suffice. People have questions and this story is not going away."

To read the full op-ed, click here.

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