Saturday, February 16, 2008

Actress Joins Others in Fight Against Hospital Mishaps


Alicia Cole

Actress Joins Others in Fight Against Hospital Mishaps

Sherman Oaks, California (February, 2008) Actress Alicia Cole, a working member of the Screen Actors Guild for 14 years, is known for the many portraits of doctors and nurses, including roles on General Hospital, Young and the Restless, and more. But a year ago, Cole switched from playing a doctor to becoming a real-life patient after contracting Necrotizing Fasciitis (NF), ‘Man-eating Flesh Disease’. This lead to six additional surgeries and countless close calls. This also lead Cole to stage a fight to bring awareness of this disease and to the rise in preventable hospital acquired infections.

John Ritter’s untimely death and Dennis Quaid’s family tragedy are just two prime examples of the increase in hospital mishaps today. It is estimated that staph infections alone kill approximately 100,000 Americans in hospitals annually. Someone has to speak out. And Cole is doing just that.

Cole’s plight began on Aug. 15, 2006 upon entering the same top-rated San Fernando Valley hospital that treated fan favorite John Ritter. Following a minor procedure, Cole was scheduled to be home in two days, in time for the start of the new television season. That never took place. On Aug. 20 during a routine dressing check, a small black dot was noticed near the surgery incision. This soon developed into a quarter-sized pustule that would lead to the traumatizing diagnosis of Necrotizing Fasciitis.

The events that transpired next for Cole are not for the squeamish. The graphic and painful depiction of flesh-eating disease cannot and should not be detailed in a news release. However, the topic must be discussed in order for change to be made and lives to be saved. To view the ravaging effects of this disease go to Cole’s site at

Necrotizing Fasciitis (NF) is a bacterial infection that attacks the soft tissue and fascia. In order to contact the bacteria, it needs to be introduced into the body. Thereby, NF often occurs through complications from surgery or infections from hospitals. Unfortunately for Cole not even the most powerful antibiotics used to fight the SuperBug MRSA or Vancomycin were able to help her.

After Cole’s official diagnosis was confirmed, a nurse later shared that Cole was the third patient with NF disease and the only one to survive. What is even more frightening is that during much of Cole’s hospitalization, Cole was never placed in strict contact isolation; no gloves, masks or gowns were worn by the nurses and doctors in the ICU.

“I vowed, if I am able to survive this, I will dedicate myself to insuring that no other family has to endure the trauma and burdens inflicted by a preventable hospital infection.” Cole now advocates nationally for safer healthcare and public reporting of hospital infection and death rates. Cole was the first member of the public to share her story and address Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Committee on Hospital Associated Infections created by Senate Bill 739.

Cole recently founded the Alliance for Safety Awareness for Patients (ASAP) to educate and protect patients. ASAP works with established advocacy groups, healthcare providers and legislators to strive to reduce the spread of preventable hospital-acquired infections by empowering the public to make informed decisions about healthcare issues.

In Cole’s case, mistakes were made. Lives were changed. And Alicia Cole will not see the inside of a TV studio for quite some time. However, Cole’s star status could bring the much-needed publicity for hospital and government officials to take note and pass important legislation for patient protection. Stop the disease. Make a Difference. Go to for more details. Alicia Cole is available for media interviews by contacting Alicia Cole at

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