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How MRSA Effects our Healthcare Workers

December 28th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

I have often thought of the nurses and other caregivers my father had while he was hospitalized in his small community hospital.  It was a full 6 days before he was diagnosed with MRSA pneumonia when he was readmitted to his hospital with fever and pneumonia.  For a full 6 days, while he coughed up copious amounts of sputum, there were no contact or respiratory precautions used during his care.  My mother and I both helped care for him and he had numerous visitors as well.  All of us…caregivers and visitors alike were exposed to Dad’s infection.  I wonder sometimes if any of his caregivers became colonized because of unprotected contact with my father.  It’s an awful feeling to know it was possible and it was because of inadequate infection control policies in that hospital.  Dad had several risk factors for MRSA, but of course they didn’t to MRSA screening at all back then, and my impression is that they still don’t.  That will change soon with our new law.

I spoke at length with a middle aged RN tonight.  She is a friend of my cousin’s.  She was an ICU nurse and she contraced MRSA while working in a Maine Hospital.  Initially, she was denied any compensation from that hospital. A lawyer helped her with that.   She suffered from bilateral MRSA pneumonia and went into MRSA sepsis.  She has had bouts of illness since her acute infection and still suffers lasting effects from the illness.  If she was 80 instead of 45, she would probably be dead.  She knows that.  Now she cannot get a job in an acute care hospital.  She was infected in one, but now nobody will hire her.  I wonder why????   There is something just plain unfair and wrong with this picture.  It is OK for a hospital to be lax with Infection control, and infect employees and/or patients,  and then they can deny a nurse work and/or compensation.  My father had to pay for his own nursing home care tha was necessary because of his infection.  The injustice of it is astounding. 

loadedgunMany victims of MRSA suffer emotional stress, life altering illness, and sometimes death and yet hospitals get to keep their rates a big secret, deny compensation to those harmed by the infection and they get to continue on doing business as usual.  This is kind of like loading a gun (using inadequate Infection Control measures), shooting the gun (infecting patients and caregivers), and then just reloading the gun to start over.

Let’s just hope that our Maine hospitals are at least law abiding.  The law says they have to do surveillance of high risk populations.  The screening of those populations will start January 4.  And, if Representative Goode and I accomplish what we hope to, the screening will be done correctly and adequately in order to make a big change in our MRSA infection rates. This screening and the appropriate isolation and precautions necessary after a positive result, will drop MRSA rates.  Decolonization when indicated is also a very important component of prevention.

We must be optimistic.  MRSA will be conquered.

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  1. October 22nd, 2011 at 17:33 | #1

    I’m totally into this blog. It’s great!

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