I was recently invited to attend the first ever Conversation between the CDC and the Consumers Union. I have affiliated myself with the CU and other powerful selfless MRSA prevention advocates during the past few years. There isn’t much that these activists don’t know about the fight for better MRSA Prevention.
Under our new administration, and the leadership of Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the CDC is becoming more consumer friendly. The conversation we had two days ago was held between us (activists with the CU) and many high officials at the CDC who specialize in HAI prevention including MRSA prevention. I was humbled by their expertise, but at the same time I was not intimidated by it. 20 years ago, I would never have expected that I …….an employee health nurse in my local medical center, who used the CDC recommendations as my bible and the Federal Registar as my mandates, would ever be sitting where I was, expressing my frustrations at the snail’s pace of enacting ADI for all US hospitals.
Active detection and Isolation has most recently been proven effective in our over 150 VA hospitals nationwide. The Study was revealed at the HICPAC meeting, which I unfortunately missed most of. The Study revealed incredible reductions of hospital acquired MRSA after using ADI in a 2 year study. The study was a collaborative between the CDC and the VA. Over 200 other studies prove that ADI works to stop MRSA.
All of us were asked at the end of an enlightening and exciting meeting what our feelings were about the meeting. I told them about calling the CDC once in 1992 when I was an Employee Health Nurse at Eastern Maine Medical Center. My project during that period of time in the early 90s was to do 2 stage TB tests on every EMMC employee. It amounted to between 4000 and 5000 PPD or TB tests. There was some discussion and disagreement on what exactly a positive TB test looked and felt like, so I called the CDC experts. I remembered how daunting and intimidating that call was for me. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be sitting in a conference room, having a “conversation” with top ranking CDC physicians and others, and confidently and repeatedly expressing my personal and profession opinion on MRSA control. The experience was humbling and I was honored to be part of this meeting. And, I was very grateful to be included by the CU.
I hope to return to the CDC. I have all of my newly found passion, my research and my heartfelt sympathy and sorrow for victims and survivors of victims of MRSA. I am not a top scientist at the CDC, but I am an expert on the human suffering that comes with deadly MRSA. I watched what it did to my father and I have listened to the numerous stories of others or their loved ones. This is an epidemic that must be stopped. It is not going away, unless we take a strong stand and push it away. It was wonderful to hear the CDC officials saying that ELIMINATION is their goal.
There is also fear amongst nurses and other health care workers that if they are ever diagnosed as being MRSA colonized, they will lose their jobs. This is not right or fair and needs to be addressed. No nurse should accept the constant inadequacies of their hospitals resulting in unprotected exposures to MRSA. Without ADI, delayed detection of colonization and infection will continue, exposures will be commonplace and outbreaks will not stop.
My sincerest thanks to the CDC for opening up this conversation, and I hope to return there soon.
There is so much more to add to our new “Conversation”.