This year has been big on the Clostridium difficile trouble in Montreal hospitals. Clostridium contamination is not a new problem for hospitals. Some years are easier then others, but keeping this bacteria out of health clinics and hospitals has been an ongoing struggle for decades. The infection occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, most commonly in the intestine or the colon. C. dificile is actually normally found in our gut, but after certain antibiotic treatments it can eradicating the normal body flora and producing high amounts of toxins. As a result, symptoms like bloating, colitis, diarrhea, and constipation appear. Some cases result in death.
Recently, Montreal's Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital has been mentioned in connection with a recent C. difficile outbreak. According to CBC news, in the past few months several patients died after contracting the bacteria. The hospital officials report that the outbreak is facilitated by overcrowding in the ER, improper sterilization, and increased numbers of elderly patients. This statement has raised some controversy, with patients becoming becoming concerned with the quality of the health care system and its ability to safely accommodate patients.
The hospital director states that the outbreak is well-managed and is not a crisis. The outbreak has been going on since the beginning of the year. The situation has been taken under control--the number of reported cases decreased by half since last month. The question remains: is our health care system prepared for such trials? As the Montreal aging population grows, the strain on the health system is exacerbated. If our hospitals find it hard to manage proper sanitation techniques right now, what can we expect in the future?
These are some of the questions that the government of Quebec, and indeed Canada on the whole, should be concerned with. The health care system questions are being raised, and are becoming increasingly important.