April 25, 2011

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of inflammatory diseases involving the colon and small bowel, including Crohn’s disease (which may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus) and ulcerative colitis (which affects the colon and/or rectum). Ulcerative colitis affects the mucosa (lining of the gut) while Crohn’s disease affects the entire wall of the bowel.

Common symptoms of IBD include abdominal pain, vomiting, cramps, rectal bleeding, and diarrhea. Treatments may include medications, steroids, and in severe cases, surgery. Hospitalization may be necessary for acute flare-ups. IBD may cause serious quality of life issues at times.

Clostridium difficile (commonly referred to as C. difficile) is a common bacteria naturally present in the gut in about two thirds of children and in 3% of adults but do not usually cause problems in healthy people. The overall mortality rate for people with C. difficile is about 6%.

In a new study out of the United Kingdom, it was found that between 2002 and 2008, patients admitted to the hospital who had IBD and who contracted C. difficile while in the hospital were SIX TIMES more likely to die in the hospital than those patients with IBD alone. 25% of the patients with IBD who contracted C. difficile had died within 30 days compared to 3% for those with IBD alone. And IBD patients with C. difficile stayed in the hospital longer (26 days compared to 5 days) and were almost twice as likely to require gastrointestinal surgery.

By improving hospital hygiene and by changing policies involving anitibiotics use (broad spectrum antibiotics can kill harmless bacteria that normally reside in the gut which allow C. difficile to flourish and produce toxins that lead to gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea), the incidence of C. difficile can be dramatically reduced.

In the event that you or a loved one has contracted C. difficile while an inpatient in a hospital or while in a long term care facility, you owe it to yourself to investigate if medical negligence was the cause of your infection and if you are entitled to compensation for your pain and losses. Our web site can assist you to find a medical malpractice attorney in your area to help investigate your claim or call us toll free at 800-295-3959.