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MRSA in Hospitals

Published: Dec 08, 2016 in Medical Malpractice, Nursing Home

Staph bacteria are incredibly common and are carried in the nose or on the skin of approximately 1 in 3 people. For the majority of people, these bacteria result in no issues at all or some minor skin infections. However, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a more dangerous form of staph infection that is resistant to many antibiotics and is sometimes referred to as the “superbug.”

According to the CDC, there are over 80,000 MRSA invasive infections occur each year and 11,285 MRSA-related deaths. Severe MRSA infections are most likely to occur during or soon after inpatient medical care.

Where Do People Get MRSA?

Although you can get MRSA anywhere, the majority of MRSA infections occur in healthcare settings, such as errors at hospitals or nursing homes. MRSA infections in hospitals tend to be more severe including bloodstream infections, pneumonia, surgical site infections, and infections of catheters. If left untreated, MRSA can cause sepsis and death.

People who are more likely to get a MRSA infection in a health care setting include:

  • those with other health conditions or compromised immune systems
  • those who have long or repeated stays in the hospital or a nursing home
  • those who have been treated with antibiotics over extended periods of time

How is MRSA Spread in Hospitals?

While anyone can get MRSA by coming into contact with infected skin, people who are receiving inpatient treatment are at an increased risk. In the hospital, MRSA typically spreads from one person to another on the contaminated hands of healthcare providers or on surfaces such as medical equipment, bed rails, door handles, or bed linens.

MRSA can be spread when health care providers fail to adequately clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer before and after caring for patients, when hospital rooms and equipment are not properly cleaned or are not regularly cleaned, and if patients are not tested to see if they have MRSA. Additionally, Hospitals sometimes fail to utilize Contact Precautions when caring for MRSA-infected patients, which means:

  • Placing MRSA infected patients in a private room whenever possible
  • Having health care providers wear protective gowns and gloves when caring for MRSA infected patients
  • Asking visitors to wear a gown and gloves
  • Removing protective gowns and gloves and washing their hands when leaving the room
  • Asking MRSA infected patients to stay in their hospital rooms as much as possible

MRSA Symptoms

Like other staph skin infections, MRSA usually begins as a bump that is:

  • Red
  • Swollen
  • Painful
  • Warm to the touch
  • Full of pus or other drainage
  • Accompanied by a fever

How an Alabama MRSA Infection Lawyer Can Help

Healthcare facilities must take precautions to avoid spreading infections from one patient to another. If you have gotten MRSA because of a preventable hospital error or the negligence of a healthcare professional, contact the medical malpractice lawyers with Belt & Bruner, P.C. to learn more about your legal options. Our experienced MRSA infection lawyers can help you navigate the complicated process of pursuing a medical malpractice claim and will fight for a fair settlement.

If you or a loved one were injured in a serious medical accident due to negligence or under circumstances out of your control, call our medical malpractice attorneys from Belt & Bruner, P.C. at (205) 933-1500 or use our online form. We offer a case evaluation free of charge and are ready to help you obtain full compensation for your losses. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our attorneys will quickly travel to investigate your case.