Carrie Simon of West Hartford, Connecticut

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In January of 2005, I was admitted to a major teaching hospital in the northeast for heart valve replacement and repair surgery. The surgery was successful, yet a few days later I began to show the early symptoms of MRSA. Neither the nursing staff nor the resident physicians recognized the symptoms. Only after about 36 hours of unexplainable deterioration in my condition and near fatal arrhythmia did the hospital staff respond appropriately and address the infectious disease that I had contracted. As a result I needed to undergo 5 additional surgeries, and remained a hospitalized patient for over 2 months. Then, when I got home I had to undergo 6 additional weeks of IV Vancomycin.

I am a veteran of numerous hospital stays and medical encounters; I am an adult survivor of childhood cancer, and a breast cancer survivor as well. I know, that there is a strong possibility that I will need further hospitalizations. Only now I am fearful of the very system that I must rely on to survive. If my family and I were apprised of the potential for hospital borne infections, the 36 hours would not have slipped by without medical intervention that complicated my recovery. If all hospitals begin taking the necessary steps to diminish the potential of such infections, not only would lives be saved, but so would millions of dollars in related medical costs.