ABC News reports when fifty-six year old Sandi Sampson fell and hurt her ankle, she postponed seeing the doctor for a few days thinking it would get better. The doctor recommended an ankle replacement After the operation, the ankle did not heal as she expected. The ankle continued to bother her and did not set properly. Sandi had to have the replacement replaced and then discovered MRSA.
Also called the Superbug, MRSA stands for methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus aereus, which cannot be controlled by antibiotics. Sandi was treated with PIC , a tube that runs through the heart. Doctors attempted to treat her infected ankle with antibiotic but it was not successful. She had to have her ankle cut from below the knee. She said on ABC News, “Fighting MRSA is something you do in a short period of time; It’s something you have forever. Hopefully I have gotten rid of it because I had my leg amputated.-that’s the end result.”
According to CNN, an estimated 30,000 hospitals and five per cent of nursing homes could have the infection anytime. A recent study finds that thirty-four out of a thousand patients become infected with MRSA including those who developed the infection during their hospital stay. The germ has a potential of being fatal and is spread by touch particularly in places where patients are treated for open wounds. The outbreaks have spread to prisons, children, and athletes who share the same towel..
The numbers in the new report are eight times more than the figures reported in 2005 by the U.S Center of Disease Control. The study did not take into consideration the type of hospital or population . The surveys sent to participants found an average of thirty-four out of one thousand facilities had the infection and twelve per cent carried the germ but did not have the illness. Some patients did not have time to become infected so research concluded seventy-five per cent of patients already have the infection upon entering a medical facility. On CNN, a consultant on the study , Dr. William Jarvis said, “They acquired it in a previous stay in health care facility or out in the community.” He added it was an important message to the public.
Some doctors did not agree with the findings. Dr. Trish Perl of Johns Hopkins Hospital commented on ABC News, “They set out to try to get a sense of the burden of the disease, but I think that we ended up with data that is difficult to interpret.” Other factors included how many became infected and what medicine was resistant. The exact rate of infections are not known, cases like Sandi Sampson’s are not unusual.” In some settings we’ve seen some dramatic infections-like, almost your heart would stop.” Dr.Perl said
Medical staff can prevent the spread of MRSA by washing hands and wearing gloves. Further spread can be prevented by separating those with the infection from other patients and cleaning bed linens thoroughly. Areas like operating rooms should be tested often. Washing hands with an alcohol sanitizer has proved effective in preventing outbreaks when working with an infected patient.
CNN, “Superbug May Strike 5 percent of Hospital, Nursing Home Patients”
Kamal Menghrajani, “Drug Resistant Bug Becoming More Common”