Diarrhea in the hospital: Is Clostridium difficile the culprit?
As a patient who has had several days stay in a hospital, you probably weren’t expecting to spend additional time there because of your newly acquired diarrhea.
At many hospitals in San Francisco and elsewhere in the nation, if you develop diarrhea in the hospital, chances are you’ve been paid a visit by the bacterium Clostridium difficile, or you’ve been given a medication with diarrhea as its side effect.
In Moffit Hospital and San Francisco General Hospital, as in other top hospitals across the nation, resident physicians take the presence of diarrhea in their hospitalized patients very seriously. They review your medical history, your medications, and check for infectious diseases, malabsorption, and hyperthyroidism as a possible cause. If the patient has a history of drug use, they check for opiate withdrawal. Ultimately, the physicians will have to balance their imagination (what could this be?) with the costs (both monetary and human costs) of ordering endless tests. Rest assured that they’ve got the evaluation part down to a science…well, almost.
– UCSF Hospitalist Handbook, 2nd ed, Shah
Categorised as: Articles