CDC Study highlights the dangers of C. difficile infections

Rate this post

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by the New England Journal of Medicine, provides important information about C. difficile, the most common cause of hospital-acquired infections in the U.S. The study estimated nearly 500,000 patients were infected with C. difficile in 2011 and 29,000 of those patients died.

We have watched the problem of C. difficile infections grow over the past ten years,” said Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project. “While antibiotics are life saving in so many circumstances, they are often prescribed inappropriately and when not needed. This deadly infection is the best reason for all patients to ask their doctors and dentists if they really need that antibiotic.”

Safe Patient Project is available for interviews on the subject also collect stories from patients who have experiences with C. difficile infections. We can search our database for stories from your area if needed. Our contact information is listed above, if you would like to talk to us or identify local stories. Below are several examples of people who have previously agreed to be interviewed by the media.

Columbia, SC

I was hospitalized in a coma due to imbalance of electrolytes. While there, I contracted C. dif. I was transferred to a rehab center for care & rehab, where it seemed the C. dif, after 2 wks of treatment, had resolved. But it returned with a vengeance 1 week later, after I had been released from the rehab center.

Sarasota, FL

Awful experience from C-Diff. Never told I had the infection. Continued from July 20, 2013 to October 31, 2013. Vancomycin treatment 2 months. Numerous accidents along the way. Extended health care. Terrible. Not even sure it is gone.

Dallas, TX/Cleveland OH

My mother was treated in-hospital for pneumonia with antibiotics and subsequently got C.diff. No one suggested she be given replacement bacilli, which might have helped her. Also, there were many breaks in prevention techniques (wearing of gloves, gowns etc.) in the Ohio hospital where it occurred. She subsequently died from the C.diff. Although she was 91 and had cardiac problems, she had been living independently in an apartment.

New York, NY

My father entered the hospital on 2/7/09 and after surgery was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma, which we were told was a treatable form of cancer. After spinal surgery, he was put in an infectious room, which we were told was safe since it was “cleaned”. He went on to have a second spinal surgery, a laparoscopic abdominal surgery, and one dose of chemo. He started to get very sick shortly afterwards (loss of appetite, increased heart rate, sleeping a lot, unresponsive). His oncologist stopped in to see him one evening and seeing his condition, had him transferred to ICU where he was given blood transfusions, oxygen and intravenous antibiotics. We were told he showed some signs of sepsis but were given different stories from the multitude of doctors who were dealing with him. After a few days he was moved from ICU to a regular room but continued to go downhill, now with severe diarrhea. It was then mentioned that he had C-Diff. He was in a room with another patient at this time and the other patient was moved out of the room, and we had to wear yellow robes. As he continued to decline, a Rapid Response was performed and he was moved to CCU, where he died on 3/22/09. This was the most excruciating experience, for my father and my entire family. It was like being on a roller coaster, one day having hope (some nurses and doctors said the infection was getting better) then the next being told by other doctors that he was a “very sick man” and he “lived a long life” (he was 75 years old). I never once smelled bleach in the six weeks my father was in that hospital, which I understand is the only thing that kills C-Diff. The careless behavior of the hospital staff throughout my father’s stay was horrific.

Boone, NC

I have been hospitalized seven times in nine months, each time being treated with antibiotics (I had spent a life time avoiding.) I acquired C-diff at the local hospital while being treated six days for a UTI acquired at another hospital.


Consumers Union is the public policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports. Consumers Union works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.