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The Hamilton Spectator
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Thursday May 29, 2008
There's no need for an inquiry into hundreds of C. difficile deaths in Ontario hospitals, says Health Minister George Smitherman.

Under pressure from the Progressive Conservatives to call a probe, Smitherman said yesterday an inquiry would slow government efforts to tackle the problem.

A coroner's inquest into C. difficile deaths at a hospital in Sault Ste. Marie has given a "good body of evidence" to get a better handle on the superbug that causes severe diarrhea, he told reporters.

The inquest found C. difficile caused or contributed to 18 of 26 questionable deaths at the Sault Area Hospital and recommended hospitals set up C. difficile surveillance systems, improved infection control practices and more prudent use of antibiotics.

"I do feel like we have the information that we need and the focus should be on relentless implementation," said Smitherman, who recently changed his mind and decided hospitals should be required to report cases of C. difficile.

He revealed this month that, within a year, hospitals will be required to report such cases to better track and control the potentially deadly bacteria.

Federal Health Minister Tony Clement said he was alarmed at Smitherman's reluctance to make C. difficile a reportable disease. More...

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Smitherman rejects superbug inquiry
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