CORNWALL – According to Sharon Richer, northern Ontario vice-president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, hospital-acquired infections are the fourth largest killers across Canada, behind heart attacks, strokes and cancer.
"Two hundred thousand to 250,000 patients across Canada acquire a superbug infection," she said. "Eight thousand to 12,000 people die per year because of it."
And 42 per cent of these deaths – between 3,200 and 4,800 – are in Ontario.
Superbug infections include MRSA , VRE and C. Difficile.
Richer said the OCHU wants to the government to provide more money to hospitals. The problem, she said, is that hospitals are being told by the Local Health Integration Networks to carry balanced budgets.
"They (hospitals) need more money, and they need more money for cleaning," she said. "Most chemicals need to stay on surfaces for a period of time...and (cleaners) are being told to put it on, wipe it off," she explains. "And that's the problem, because there isn't enough time in the day for these housekeepers."
Rita Forgues has been working for 30 years in cleaning. She's currently working as a cleaner at the Cornwall Community Hospital in two sections: trauma and acute care.
Richer suggested 200K to 250K cases in Canada a year.
Ontario had 42% of the deaths so we'll that they also had 42% of the total cases and use the larger 250K estimate. 42% of 250K cases would be 105,000 cases for Ontario.
Let's also assume that they test 3 times that number just because some patients may show symptoms. 3 times 105,000 brings us to 315,000 tests a year for Ontario.
If we divide the 315,000 by 365 that would be an average of 863 tests a day for all the hospitals in Ontario.
There are 157 hospitals in Ontario but we'll assume that 7 never have any cases and use 150.
We now have 863 cases a day divided among 150 hospitals for an average of 5.75, we'll call it 6, tests a day per hospital.
I doubt that each individual hospital could justify the cost of equipment to run 6 tests a day. They could combine the tests so that 1 machine could cover 20 hospitals. That would bring the total tests to 120 but it delays the results because you have to assemble all of the tests at one location. To be practical you would have to wait for 60 samples, let's say in the morning, to arrive before you begin testing, then the other 60 in the evening; that's another delay.
Cost was mentioned in the article: "They (hospitals) need more money".
If someone had a rapid detection test that could be utilized immediately, at the hospital, and the cost didn't involve a large upfront expense, they would probably get the entire market.