Dangers of MRSA Infection
Staph, or Staphylococcus aureus bacteria as it is formally known, is not a rare germ. In fact, it is commonly found on the skin or in the nose of many people. Typically, the bacteria is not a problem, only causing mild infections occasionally. However, it can sometimes cause severe infections of the skin, lungs, blood, or other organs and tissues. Some staph infections are treated easily with antibiotics. Others are not.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that has developed a resistance to the antibiotics typically used to treat ordinary staph infections.
While a virulent form of antibiotic-resistant staph has developed outside of healthcare settings, most commonly, MSRA infections happen after people have been in the hospital, nursing home, dialysis center, or similar health care setting. The infection occurs in people who have had invasive procedures or surgeries. This type of health-care associated MRSA is referred to as HA-MRSA.
How MRSA Spreads
An individual may have the infection themselves, or be a carrier.
- Colonization. When a person carries the MRSA bacteria but is healthy, it’s called being colonized. This person can spread MRSA to others.
- Infection. When a person gets sick because of the bacteria, it’s called being infected with MRSA. This person can also spread MRSA to others. If not treated properly, MRSA infections can be very serious and even cause death.
It is possible for MRSA infections to develop on intact skin. First, a red, inflamed bump appears and then may weep fluid or pus. However, typically the infections develop around open sores, such as cuts, scrapes, or bites. They are also a potential result of surgical wound infections and blood stream infections.
In the past, these resistant strains were seen mostly in chronically ill patients or people with weakened immune systems. Now, they are being discovered in healthy people- including children.
Symptoms vary depending on what body part is infected, but can include:
- Infected skin
- Joint effusion
- Breathing problems
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that over 18,000 people die each year from hospital acquired MRSA infections.
Children at Risk
MRSA infections are highly contagious and are spread easily from one person to another. Anyone can get an MRSA infection, including your child- inside or outside of a hospital. The infections range from mild to severe to deadly, and can affect your child’s skin, blood, lungs, heart, or brain.
Children at special risk of developing an MRSA infection are those who have been hospitalized. Having any type of surgery- no matter how routine, admittance to the ICU, being placed on a ventilator, an extended hospital stay, or sharing a room with an infected person all increases your child’s risk of becoming seriously ill.
Proper sanitation and hygiene techniques can help control the spread of the infection from one patient to another including routine hand washing, sterilization of surgical equipment, and keeping wounds and surgical incisions clean.
MRSA and Medical Negligence
If your child has contracted a serious form of MRSA and been hospitalized or injured as a result, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. If your child’s MRSA was a direct result of medical negligence, improper sanitary conditions, or improper sterilization, your attorney may be able to file a claim against the hospital, healthcare provider, or physician. It is imperative that doctors and nurses keep strict adherence to proper sanitary conditions, use good hand washing techniques, and wear gloves, in order to reduce the spread of MRSA from patient-to-patient.
Contact MRSA Injury Lawyers
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our MRSA injury lawyers have extensive experience representing injured children and families in Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, and throughout the State of Maryland. If you or someone you love has suffered serious illness because of a hospital-acquired MRSA infection, we can help. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6635 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.
The personal injury attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Maryland, and throughout Virginia