Surgery can be a stressful experience. One possible complication from surgical procedures is a Staphylococcus aureus (staph) infection. Staph bacteria can infect any area of the body and it is possible to carry staph without having any symptoms of infection. As a result, surgeons and medical practitioners need to be extremely careful and follow strict hygienic procedures to reduce the risk of these types of infections.
Here are some facts that you should know about staph infections after surgical procedures:
The Effects of a Staph Infection
The symptoms of a staph infection will depend on where the staph bacteria are in or on your body. For example, skin infections usually lead to a bright red and raised rash at the site of the infection. These rashes vary in size and are swollen, itchy, and painful. In some cases, patients will develop a crust over the infected wound and the site may ooze pus. If the staph bacteria have infected blood or bone, you can experience a high fever, chills, or vomiting. If left untreated, these infections may lead to organ failure.
How Does Staph Spread?
After surgery, the most common source of a staph infection is actually bacteria on the patient’s own body. Most people have bacteria on their bodies without realizing it and it does not usually cause an issue unless it enters your bloodstream. This is why surgeons must properly clean the incision site before and after a surgical procedure. It is also important that medical professionals who treat you give you clear instructions for caring for surgical wounds.
Staph infection can also spread from person to person. If a nurse or surgeon does not wash their hands or wear gloves before examining your incisions after surgery, they may transfer bacteria into your wound. Infections may also arise due to dirty linen or contaminated surgical equipment. If the healthcare workers in charge of your care did not take reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of staph bacteria and you developed an infection as a result, you should contact a malpractice lawyer immediately.
Types of Staph Infection
Staph can cause a wide range of infectious diseases. These even include pneumonia and food poisoning.
The types of infections you are most likely to develop after surgery include:
Skin infections are the most recognizable form of staph. They can develop at the site of surgical incisions and cause a red and painful rash.
Bacteremia and Sepsis
If staph enters your bloodstream it can lead to bacteremia or a blood infection. In the worst cases, this evolves into sepsis and can be life-threatening.
Infection can spread from your blood into your bones, leading to high fevers and extreme pain. Bone infections are treated with antibiotics and may even require a second surgery to remedy.
Toxic Shock Syndrome
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is an extreme immune response to certain bacterial infections. It involves sudden fevers, low blood pressure, and muscle weakness. In severe cases, it can cause organ failure.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a particularly dangerous staph infection that is resistant to many antibiotics. Treatment for MRSA can be expensive and you may need to stay in the hospital for a longer period of time.
Staph Infection Due to Medical Negligence
In some cases, infections occur after surgery even when surgeons and other medical professionals took all necessary precautions. However, staph can sometimes be a result of medical negligence or malpractice. If a surgeon, nurse, or doctor carelessly contributed to the development of your infection, you may be entitled to compensation. If you have any doubt whether or not malpractice was a factor in your post-surgical staph infection, call Grabb & Durando. Our experienced attorneys can help you determine whether or not you have grounds for a personal injury case.