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Health

The Uncounted: The deadly cost of Superbugs

Opening sequence

Opening sequence

Health

The Uncounted: The deadly cost of Superbugs

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COMING UP:The Uncounted: The deadly cost of Superbugs

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Transcript

00:00:02
>> They called him the miracle man. In a span of a decade Dan Greulich kidneys and liver failed him not once but twice. And both times as luck would have it he made it to the top of the National Transplant list just in time. His wife Ray says his doctors were astounded.
00:00:18
>> Dan was a very strong individual and he had defied death for 12 years, and he had defied the odds for 12 years. And I can't tell you in 12 years how many doctors said to me, I can't believe he's still alive.>> But in 2012 as he recovered at UCLA Medical Center from his second liver and kidney transplant he contracted several super bugs, and Greulich's already compromised immune system couldn't fight back.
00:00:45
Super bugs are those nasty and sometimes deadly antibiotic-resistant infections that thrive in healthcare facilities.>> This has been ongoing and hospitals have known for decades it was coming. This can't be a secret any more.>> Greulich's death at age 64 was blamed on cardiac arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat.
00:01:07
Even though a Reuter's review of his medical record shows he contracted a half a dozen different super bug infections. That's all too common, according to Reuters' ongoing investigation. Tens of thousands of these deaths go uncounted each year because federal and state agencies are doing a poor job tracking them.
00:01:25
Reuters correspondent Yasmeen Abutaleb says this has added a tremendous financial burden to the nation's healthcare system.>> By the time Dan Greulich died he had lost a kidney and a liver that could have saved two other people, and his medical bill was more than five million dollars. What Dan's case shows is the people who are most vulnerable to antibiotic-resistant bacteria are people who have spent a lot of time in hospitals, people who have had organ transplants and have weakened immune systems and rely on other complex medical advancements, are also the people who are most susceptible.
00:02:03
>> The enormity of the cost is hard to know. Reuters crunched the numbers and found that MRSA and another bacteria, C difficile, added about six billion dollars to the cost of US hospital stays in 2013. But that accounts for just 2 of 18 super bugs the CDC views as public health threats, suggesting the actual cost is much higher.