Let’s talk about MRSA

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Patients who develop MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infections end up staying longer in the hospital, have higher medical bills, and are more likely to die from their infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 19,000 Americans died in 2005 from MRSA infections acquired in hospitals and other health care settings. Here’s what people with personal experiences had to say about MRSA:

Kathy Day of Maine, whose father John died from hospital-acquired MRSA pneumonia, shares her thoughts about MRSA on her blog:

All of us who have lost someone we loved because of MRSA experienced the same shock, frustration, anger, hope then devastation, over the unexpected and unnecessary infection. We watched as our loved ones trusted their hospitals to make them better. They entered their hospitals frightened but also knowing they would get the best of care and the best results of that care. The optimism we had is necessary for healing. We must hope for the best and we expect the best. Then when the doctor or nurse tells us that our loved one has an infection that may or may not respond to antibiotics it’s like getting hit over the head with a sledgehammer. Then on top of that, we learn that our loved one caught this infection while under the hospital’s care. We become angry. It is human nature. When anybody is let down about something as important as our loved ones LIFE, it is enraging.

Both Kathy Day and Carole Moss became active in their state for MRSA prevention and control so that other patients would not have to encounter the same fate as their loved ones. Unfortunately, most hospitals are not taking the steps they need to stem the alarming incidence of MRSA.

MRSA can be beat with stricter infection control. In addition to getting hospitals to adopt strict hand hygiene, screening patients for MRSA is part of an effective strategy to prevent the spread of this deadly superbug. So far, only four states have MRSA screening requirements (CA, IL, NJ, PA). Every patient in every hospital deserves protection against this harmful superbug.