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Understanding the Dangers of MRSA

MRSAFor those planning a hospital procedure in any of the United States’ nearly six thousand hospitals there are bound to be anxiety-ridden questions. A prospective patient may wonder about the diagnosis or procedure and the costs involved. He or she may also inquire about their physician’s credentials and instances of medical malpractice suits. Medical professionals may have offered answers to so some of these questions, but hss your medical team or hospital liaison advised you against the dangers of contracting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA? Unfortunately, no hospital is immune to this type of staph bacterial infection which has proven resistant to various antibiotics.

The Mayo Clinic provides extensive information on MRSA and highly recommends that prospective hospital or long-term nursing patients familiarize themselves with the causes and possible complications. There are two strains of MRSA: CA-MRSA, which can be sexually transmitted, contracted during contact sports, or by living in crowded and unsanitary conditions; and HA-MRSA, which is the strain most often associated with hospital stays.

Who is in Danger of Contracting HA-MRSA?

Certain patients are more at risk than others for HA-MRSA. Risk factors increase in situations related to:

  • Hospitalization - HA-MRSA remains a serious concern for hospitals. It often attacks the most vulnerable such as older adults or those with weakened immune systems;
  • Insertion of invasive medical device - Any type of medical tubing such as an intravenous line or urinary catheter easily provides a weakened pathway for HA-MRSA to travel quickly through one’s blood stream; and
  • Long-term care facilities - Aside from infecting those in a hospital, HA-MRSA is also very prevalent in long-term care facilities victimizing the most vulnerable.
Why is HA-MRSA a Common Risk?

Statistically, less than two percent of the population actively carry the staph bacteria associated with both types of MRSA. Normally found on the skin or within the nasal cavities, MRSA is generally harmless unless it finds easy access to a cut or wound. Normally the passing of the bacteria only causes minor skin problems but for those with weakened immune systems it can be quite dangerous.

Symptoms to Look for

HA-MRSA is habitually growing as our resistance to antibiotics weakens. For decades, medical professionals have prescribed antibiotics for ailments from the common cold to strep throat, and this practice has opened the door to an increase in HA-MRSA and CA-MRSA infections.

The first symptom may present as swollen, painful red bumps with the outbreak feeling warm to the touch, full of pus or drainage and often accompanied by a fever. If left undiagnosed or incorrectly diagnosed, the infected area can quickly turn into painful and deep abscesses that may require surgical drainage.

If unattended the staph infection can turn inward and burrow deep within the body, causing life-threatening infections in the bones, joints, and recent surgical wounds. Worse yet, the staph can also invade the bloodstream, heart valves and the lungs.

When you are scheduled for a hospital stay or if you want to monitor a loved one’s exposure to HA-MRSA in a nursing facility, the best methods of protection are to maintain good personal hygiene, covering any skin wound until fully healed, avoid sharing personal items, and to alert your medical team of any suspicions of an HA-MRSA outbreak.

If you feel that you or a loved one has contracted HA-MRSA due to improper hygiene by a healthcare professional or lack of proper hospital HA-MRSA protocol, the experienced Monterey County hospital malpractice attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. would like to speak with you. Contact our offices today at (408) 298-7200 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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