MRSA and Other Hospital Infections
Although people go to hospitals seeking treatment for their illnesses and other medical conditions, hospitals can pose serious health risks to patients. While special measures are taken to ensure the environment is sterile and clean for patients, the large number of ill patients present in hospitals can cause infections like MRSA to spread quickly via weakened immune systems.
What Is MRSA?
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that’s resistant to many antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections. Staphylococcus (Staph) is a type of bacteria most commonly found on the skin or in the nose that can cause extreme skin irritations that, if not properly treated, could enter the bloodstream causing more devastating symptoms like vomiting, joint pain, and fevers.
The Center For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) considers it a “superbug,” due to the difficulty in treating the bacteria. MRSA has become resistant to many types of antibiotics because the bacteria can evolve at an expedited rate. Since the 1940s when antibiotics were first used to treat bacteria, MRSA has quickly evolved to be resistant.
One of the contributing factors to its evolution of resistance is the misuse and overuse of antibiotics. Because no antibiotic is completely successful at destroying bacteria cells, small amounts of MRSA remain having survived after antibiotics, helping the evolution process.
How Do Infections Happen?
It is estimated that 2 in every 100 individuals carry MRSA. While this might seem like a small number, hospitals are filled with hundreds of patients with weakened immune systems who are highly susceptible to contracting the condition.
Once MRSA is present in a hospital, it can be spread in a number of ways. MRSA and other hospital infections are most commonly spread through direct contact with an open wound, but can also be spread indirectly by sharing items used by the infected patient. If a health care provider fails to wash his or her hands between handling patients, they can unknowingly spread the bacteria from their hands from patient to patient. Additionally, if operating rooms and intensive care units are not properly sterilized, patients can easily come in contact with hospital infections both directly and indirectly. While patients with compromised immune systems are highly susceptible to contracting an infection, any patient can become infected, particularly those who are using invasive medical devices like medical tubing, intravenous lines, or urinary catheters.
Infections like MRSA are also common in long-term care facilities like nursing homes, where most of the residents have weakened immune systems. MRSA is particularly dangerous in these settings because the people are capable of spreading the disease without experiencing any symptoms themselves.
Philadelphia Hospital Infection Lawyers
Hospitals have a duty to provide patients with a safe environment in which to heal, and if they fail to do so, they can be held responsible. If you or someone you know was infected with MRSA during your hospital stay, call the experienced Philadelphia hospital negligence attorneys at Lopez McHugh LLP today for a free consultation.