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Advocate Meg Mimnaugh: Americans should know about deadly infection

Our Rhode Island-based Advocate Meg Mimnaugh published an op-ed in the Providence Journal to promote PLF’s “See C. diff” public education campaign. 

My Turn: Americans should know about deadly infection

Losing a loved one is always painful. It’s particularly excruciating when their death was preventable. Before my mom died from a clostridium difficile (or C diff) infection, I had never heard of it.

She was being treated with antibiotics for pneumonia in the hospital and died less than 12 hours after being diagnosed. The day she died was the most devastating day of my life. It’s my hope that my loss can help others by raising awareness of C diff and protecting other families from this preventable disease.

Tens of thousands in U.S. families suffer each year from C diff. This illness is hiding in plain sight. Nearly 30,000 people in the United States die from it annually. About 500,000 get sick. Here in Rhode Island, 30% of C diff infections had a standardized infection ratio higher than the national average, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Yet 70% of Americans don’t even know about this epidemic. Most of us who come down with a life-threatening case haven’t heard of the disease until we’re tested or diagnosed with it.

That’s why I decided to tell my family’s story as part of “See C diff,” a public education campaign from the Peggy Lillis Foundation to commemorate C Diff Awareness Month. We aim to build on the 30% of Americans who have heard of the disease. All of us need to know its symptoms, how it spreads, and how we can stop it.

Read the full op-ed on the Journal’s website.

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