Data Workshop – Medicine on Television – James Hyman

I chose to watch an episode of House, M.D. called “Instant Karma” from season 6, episode 4. This episode deals with a younger male patient who is being seen for a presumed case of C. diff or Clostridium difficile. This is an infection that is usually a hospital acquired infection. It is very preventable. Patients receiving antibiotic therapy are primary targets for acquiring C. diff. According to the CDC, in 2011, almost half a million infections in the United States were caused by C. diff and 29,000 died within 30 days of the initial diagnosis. This is a pretty common condition, but there are many ways it can be prevented and many ways hospitals are working to prevent patients from getting this as often. It is treatable. The causes of this condition happen when microorganisms grow out of control and make you sick. This type of bacteria overgrows and releases toxins that attack the lining of the intestines causing this condition. The symptoms of this include watery diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, and belly pain and tenderness. It does not really affect different groups in different ways because anyone can become susceptible to getting it and it will have the same symptoms and treatment no matter if it is a male or female. Those that are most likely to get this infection according to the CDC include the elderly and those with certain medical problems. It also usually occurs in patients who are taking antibiotics. This is very contagious and can spread very easily. When being treated in the hospital, the patient will be on contact precautions where anyone who enters the room will have to put on a disposable gown and gloves and remove them before walking back out of the patients room. This is to help prevent the spread to the people in the room and to others in the hospital. Usually the doctor, nurse and the laboratory are involved in making the diagnosis of C. diff. There will be tests performed on the patient by either the nurse or doctor and sent to the lab for the results where they will then get the results back to the doctor and the doctor can initiate the appropriate treatment for the nurse to start. The treatments are available and usually include rounds of antibiotics for a certain amount of time until the infection is cleared. The treatments are not rare or dangerous, but will of course have the side effects that go along with the medication that the doctor decides to prescribe. The price of the medication will depend on which medication is chosen and the type of insurance and coverage the patient has. To undergo these treatments, the patient does not need to be rich, or lucky, but it is probably going to cover a tremendous amount of the cost if the patient is well-insured. Insurance is a very important thing to have in today’s world. House did not treat this condition because they suspected the patient had this when he came in, but ended up not having this after tests were performed. This television show is sometimes accurate in treatment of illness in relation to the experience of an American patient with the same illness, but not always. Same with any other medical show, it is not exactly what is done in the hospital and is not always accurate. These types of shows can influence America’s understanding of the health-care system in an inaccurate way and can also give them certain opinions about different conditions, procedures and treatments based on watching these television shows that could be good or bad. What is shown on these shows is not always right and it is important for people to understand that. The discrepancies could be potentially harmful to audiences’, patients’, or even physicians’ perceptions because they may think that is the right way to carry out certain tasks, procedures and treatments and not agree with what a real doctor has to tell them which could affect their outcome of whatever the problem is they are being seen for.

http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/cdiff/Cdiff_infect.html

http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/pdfs/cdiff/Cdiff_tagged.pdf

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