Vancomycin is a powerful broad-spectrum antibiotic. It is often used as an antibiotic of last resort for resistant forms of bacteria. It is the only known antibiotic that is still effective against the form of Staphylococcus known as MRSA. However, there have been cases of Vancomycin resistant staph in hospital settings, although these are still rare. It is also quite expensive. A typical daily dose costs several hundred dollars, as compared to a daily dose of Penicillin, which costs literally pennies.
Many medical professionals fear that more strains of bacteria will become resistant to Vancomycin as it is prescribed more often to patients who are fearful of having a resistant strain of a common infection such as staph, gonorrhea or tuberculosis.
In Maternity, House tried giving patients vancomycin when they failed to improve on other antibiotics.