Antibiotic resistant infections can leave nursing home residents vulnerable to major complications, even death, warns Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne
Infections occurring in health care settings are becoming more common and more difficult to treat. If a resident lives in a nursing home where hygiene, cleanliness and appropriate medical care take a back seat to improving the bottom line, that resident may also need to deal with a potentially fatal infection says Boca nursing home lawyer Joe Osborne. If your loved one acquired an infection in a nursing home, click here to learn more about nursing home abuse from a legal expert.
One common infection is MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus). It’s resistant to several common antibiotics. MRSA occurs normally in one of two settings: in a healthcare setting like a nursing home or hospital or out in the community where one person has physical contact with the infected skin of another. Infection control is the key to stopping MRSA infections in healthcare settings, according to the National Institutes of Health1.
There are many types of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, commonly called “staph.” These bacteria are found on our skin and in our nose. They are generally harmless until they enter the body through a cut or wound but if the person is healthy the bacteria normally only cause a minor skin problem. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that less than 2% of the population chronically carries the MRSA staph bacteria which have become resistant to antibiotics.
MRSA has become very common in nursing homes, adds Boca nursing home neglect attorney Joe Osborne. A 2013 study of California nursing homes found that residents in 20 of the 22 facilities tested had the infection, according to US News & World Report2. It found the strain normally found out in the community was becoming more common in nursing homes and there was evidence residents were becoming infected in the facilities, not just bringing the infection in with them.
According to the Mayo Clinic3 MRSA may start as swollen, painful red bumps on the skin that may look like pimples or spider bites. The area could be:
- Warm to the touch.
- Full of pus or other drainage.
- Include a fever.
The infected area can quickly become a deep, painful abscesses requiring surgical draining. The bacteria may be limited to the skin or burrow deep into the body, possibly causing life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, blood, heart valves and lungs.
The biggest risk factors of getting a MRSA infection are:
- Being in the hospital where it affects the most vulnerable: older adults and those with weakened immune systems.
- Having an invasive medical device such as medical tubing (intravenous lines or urinary catheters) which can create a pathway for MRSA to travel into the body.
- Living in a nursing home where MRSA is prevalent and can be spread by residents, visitors and employees who may have the bacteria but who aren’t ill.
Without proper precautions MRSA infections can spread.
- Those who are infected or colonized with MRSA are often put in isolation.
- Visitors and employees may need to wear protective garments and follow strict hand hygiene procedures.
- Contaminated surfaces and laundry need to be properly disinfected.
If you or your loved one suffered a serious MRSA infection in a hospital or nursing home, it may have been the result of negligent care by the facility and its employees. To learn more about your legal rights contact Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.
- National Institute of Health https://medlineplus.gov/mrsa.html
- US News & World Report: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/02/15/mrsa-super-bug-prevalent-in-nursing-homes-study-finds
- Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mrsa/basics/symptoms/con-20024479