Edward Vaughn is the Clinical and Operational Pharmacy Manager at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals of Sulphur Springs and Winnsboro, Texas. During a KSST Good Morning Show interview, he shared information on how “antimicrobial stewardship, better known as “antibiotic stewardship” is part of CHRISTUS’ over-reaching ministry to apply the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. He shared information as well as advised caution about the frequent over-use and wrong usage of today’s “anti-bacterial” drugs, or antibiotics. Across the United States, this usage has begun to result in an epidemic of multi-drug resistant organisms within our bodies. In one example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the emerging Candida auris has been reported recently. This “super fungus” may present a serious global health threat because it is multi-drug resistant, meaning that it is resistant to multiple anti-fungal drugs commonly used to treat Candida infections.
Vaughn states that the public needs to become more aware of the fact that antibiotics are not designed to treat or cure every disorder we may go to see a doctor about. As the chart below shows, viral infections are not affected by a program of antibiotics, whereas we know that some bacterial infections can benefit from antibiotic dosages. Frequently and for various reasons however, doctors may prescribe antibiotic medications for complaints that may not actually benefit from the prescription. There are a number of reasons that physicians may yield to this, including “patient request”. Let’s say a patient comes in with symptoms of the common cold, and may insist on being written a prescription to start feeling better. In truth, a 5-7 day program of antibiotic may coincide with 5-7 day lifespan of the common cold, and thus may only appear to have helped in the recovery. In this case, the patient has consumed medication which he or she did not actually need. The World Health Organization launched a study where 15 million patient charts were compared to identify various medical diagnoses and the medications prescribed for each. The findings were that 23%, or one-in-four patients, were prescribed medication that was not justified. During his discussion on behalf of CHRISTUS, Vaughn stated that “knowledge is power” and encouraged the local public to inform themselves and get facts through their own research via the internet about Antibiotic Stewardship.