Share this site! The Safe Patient Project is a Consumers Union campaign focused on eliminating medical harm, improving FDA oversight of prescription drugs and promoting disclosure laws that give information to consumers about health care safety and quality.

ACL repair surgery leads to MRSA infection and more hospitalization

In July 1995 I had ACL repair surgery. I developed a MRSA infection within two weeks, and spent further time in the hospital being treated for that, undergoing surgery to insert drains in the infected knee, and upon discharge having whirlpool therapy in an effort to halt the infection, as well as antibiotic treatment. In September the same surgeon operated again to remove some of the hardware at the site of the infection, which had begun in the tibia.

In the fall of 1997 I developed cellulitis in the same leg, which was found to be [the same?] MRSA; the button used to affix the tendon repair to my femur had come loose, and had migrated to the inside surface of my knee. At this time I went to a doctor other than the original surgeon. In reading my records, this doctor discovered that at the surgery to remove the tibia hardware in September of ’97, the surgeon had noted ‘gross pus’ at the site. Yet I was never told of this nor did the original surgeon prescribe any course of antibiotics at that time in an effort to eliminate the still-present infection. This second surgeon removed the now-useless hardware and engaged the help of an infectious disease specialist, who then oversaw the remainder of my recovery. I was in isolation for nearly three months, nine days of that in the same hospital, the remainder at home, unable to go out or to have visitors. I self-administered IV antibiotics twice daily via a pic line, and had visiting nurses to change the dressing and check the progress of the healing, which naturally had to occur from the inside out.

To this date there has been no recurrence, though the infectious disease specialist told me he would never be able to say that it will never happen again.