B. A Hospital Disaster In the Making
Narrator: This is Science Today.
You go to the hospital to get well, not sick, but
there's a bacteria that lives in hospitals called
enterococcus that infects a growing number of patients,
according to Dr. Lee Riley of the University of
California, Berkeley. Riley says one form of enterococcus
is resistant to all antibiotics, meaning it's essentially
untreatable. What's more disturbing is the possibility
that an even more common bacteria, staphylococcus,
or staph, will also become antibiotic resistant.
Riley: The fact that this has already
happened with enterococcus is indeed a concern that
this may transfer into staphylococcus.
Narrator: In which case going to
the hospital might get pretty risky.
Riley: Well, if that happens then
we essentially run out of antibiotics to treat patients
if they come down with these infections. We're going
to be reaching a state called "pre-antibiotic
era" even though we have all these antibiotics,
with these organisms.
Narrator: Staph infections often
occur after surgery. So if resistant staph gets
loose in the operating room, Riley says the practice
of surgery will be crippled.
Riley: This would be a major disaster on a national
scale if this happened.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm