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Ann Marie Robinson

On Halloween night 2004, Ann Marie Robinson of California spent the night in the local hospital. “I came out the next day with Clostridium Difficile, something worse than what sent me there in the first place,” she says. Frustrated with the hospital’s response to her problems, she wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper last year seeking other people in the same situation. Within 3 days, 46 people had called, and so she created “Infection Connection.”

“The original letter to the editor got the attention of Melissa Cabral, from the local TV news channel, who phoned me with some questions,” Ann remembers. “I suggested she interview a man whose wife had recently died from ‘complications.’ Then one of the local papers put an article in their paper about our group.” This finally got the attention of hospital administrators, who agreed to come to a meeting. “They came — not so much to listen, but to try to convince us we had all gotten our infections out in the community and not at their hospital. The 76 angry people were not convinced.”

As a result of the hard work of Infection Connection and the thousands of supporting letters from online activists, a hospital infection disclosure bill is now moving forward in California. “We are presently working hard to get SB 739 passed in California requiring hospitals to keep accurate records of their infection rate and make that information available to the public. Thank you Suzanne, Lisa, and everyone else at Consumers Union for all the help and support you are giving to our group.”