When you check into a hospital, you expect to get the treatment you need and go home healthier. However, some people leave hospitals sicker than when they checked in. Hospital-acquired infections are a real and terrifying risk, and MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is one of the most well-known. This antibiotic-resistant staph infection can spread rapidly throughout hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more that 80,000 people in the United States contract this disease each year and over 11,000 cases result in death. Certain precautions can help prevent the spread of MRSA and other infectious diseases in health care environments, but not all hospitals and care facilities follow the correct procedures.
It’s important to be aware of the conditions that spread MRSA and other staph infections.
Improper Sanitation/Sterilization Procedures
Cleanliness and sanitation are some of the most important ways to control the spread of MRSA. Many healthy people carry MRSA without even realizing it. Without proper sanitary procedures, one of the ways MRSA can spread is through skin to skin contact. For example, a nurse or doctor may shake hands with someone who has the antibiotic-resistant strain of staph bacteria on their hands and if this healthcare professional does not wash their hands before touching a patient, the bacteria will spread.
This does not always lead to a staph infection. However, if the doctor or nurse touches a surgical wound or if the patient is immuno-compromised, there can be serious consequences. Once this type of bacteria starts to spread, it can be difficult to stop. Healthcare workers should always wash their hands with soap and water before switching patients and should wear gloves when necessary.
Surgical patients run a higher risk of contracting MRSA than other patients. While there are many reasons for this, hospitals need to make sure to switch linens with each new patient and to fully wash old sheets and other materials. It’s also especially important that professionals fully clean and sanitize any surgical equipment to kill staph bacteria. A simple failure to sterilize hands, clothing, floors, or surfaces can result in tragedy.
Most people assume that hospitals follow these procedures, but that is not always the case. It can only take one mistake to start an outbreak. Even if a hospital looks clean, it may be teeming with bacteria that are invisible to the naked eye. It is important that you contact a lawyer if you contract MRSA in a hospital or other healthcare center. Our experienced attorneys can help you determine who was at fault for your injuries.
Improper Quarantine Procedures
After a patient gets a MRSA infection, it is important that hospital staff immediately quarantine the individual to prevent it from spreading. Many other patients have surgical wounds, are immuno-compromised, or have other risk factors and it is important that healthcare workers contain staph infections as soon as possible. If healthcare workers fail to quarantine an infected individual, then there are many ways for the infection to spread unchecked. Any part of the body can carry the bacteria, so even hand washing will not always prevent spreading the infection after interacting with someone who has MRSA. In cases where the infection is already present in a hospital, workers must take extra precautions with every step of sanitation and should follow quarantine procedures.
Did you contract MRSA while in a hospital or care facility?
Our Malpractice Lawyers Can Help
These infections are serious and can lead to long recovery times and large medical bills. It is possible that negligence or malpractice contributed to your infection. At Grabb and Durando, we have extensive experience with all types of personal injury cases, including hospital-acquired infections.