A recent study in Britain reported in a prestigious medical journal, The Lancet found that limiting the use of antibiotics may be even more effective in reducing the incidence of certain bacterial infections than meticulous cleaning of hands. Hospitals make great efforts to reduce the incidence of Clostridium difficile (C.diff), a bacterium that can cause deadly infections by relying on fastidious hygienic practices.
The study reported that the frequency of C. diff infections in England declined by 80% simply by limiting the use of antibiotics. According to the study wherever antibiotic use was limited, those infections with resistant strains disappeared. The unnecessary and frequent rush to prescribe antibiotics causes the development of drug resistant "Superbugs". As such there may be a basis for a medical malpractice or lack of informed consent claim against physicians who over prescribe antibiotics which results in a drug resistant infection. For more information on this topic, click the links below.