Trending News Today: Superbug Attacks Sickest of Patients, Causing 4 Deaths

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A deadly new drug-resistant fungus that was first identified as a potential threat in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been linked to 4 hospital patient deaths in the United States. According to Kaiser Health News, the fungus, Candida auris, attacks the sickest of patients and can spread throughout hospitals. In the CDC’s newly-released report, authorities stated that the fungus has been detected in 13 patients since May 2013, and all of the patients had serious underlying medical conditions, including cancer. They patients have been hospitalized an average of 18 days before they tested positive for the fungus, reported Kaiser. Candida auris was first identified in Japan in 2009 and has since spread around the world, emerging in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. It remains unclear of precisely how the patients had been infected, however, the CDC reported that the fungus strains were related to ones found in South American and South Asia. None of the patients had traveled to these areas and the infections were most likely acquired in the United States, Kaiser reported.

Janet Reno, 78, the first woman to serve as US Attorney General, passed away early this morning from Parkinson’s disease-related complications, reported USA Today. Reno, who was the second-longest serving attorney general in history, served during the Clinton administration, and was met with several challenges, including the government’s deadly raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, and the international custody battle for the Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez, USA Today reported. After winning confirmation as attorney general, she described the moment as an “extraordinary experience, and I hope I do the women of America proud.”

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has proposed a change to the restrictions that prohibit medical interns from working more than 16 hours without a break, NPR reported. The restriction was put in place to help minimize mistakes made due to exhaustion but now the group has proposed scrapping the limit, which would let new physicians work for as many as 28 hours at a stretch. The proposed change is based on research that found the relaxed rule would not increase risk for patients, according to NPR. ACGME stated that the longer work hours could actually make patient care safer, while also improving medical training by giving young physicians more realistic experience. The new rules would limit interns to working no more than 24 hours at a stretch plus 4 hours to manage transitions in care. Furthermore, the rules will continue to limit interns to work no more than an average of 80 hours per week over 4 weeks, NPR reports. The group stated that they will take public comments on the proposal for 45 days before making any final changes.