Antibiotic resistance – when bacteria stop responding to the drugs designed to kill them – may be the single most important infectious disease threat of our time. We risk turning back the clock to a world where simple infections can kill people as they did a century ago. Already more than 2 million people in the United States get infections that are resistant to antibiotics every year – and at least 23,000 people die as a result. If hospitals were to lose antibiotics, we would also undermine our ability to treat patients with sepsis, cancer, provide organ transplants, and save victims of burns and trauma. November 16-22 is Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, an opportunity for hospitals to review their antibiotic stewardship program and promote understanding of this important topic. AHA’s Physician Leadership Forum has an excellent toolkit that includes resources for hospitals, clinicians and patients.

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