According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a 2005 study comparing patients without S. aureus and those infected with it showed that those with the infection had nearly 3 times the length in inpatient stay, 3 times the cost of their hospitalization and 5 times the risk of an in-hospital death. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 2009) A person who has acquired HA-MRSA during a recent admission or visit to a hospital, medical center or nursing home may decide to take legal action against the healthcare providers and/or the facility where they allegedly contracted this potentially fatal organism
Approximately 30% of all people worldwide carry the S. aureus bacteria without knowing it. They carry this bacteria in their nose or on their skin; and many remain without signs or symptoms of being ill. It’s not until their immune system is weakened that they may become symptomatic or susceptible to the infection. Below is a sampling of the difficult-to-answer questions that will need to be addressed and accurately answered in proving a plaintiff acquired MRSA during his/her hospitalization, medical procedure or long term care facility stay:
- Was the plaintiff a carrier prior to hospitalization, nursing home stay or visit to the medical facility?
- How and where was the MRSA contaminant obtained and transferred? Was the contaminant transferred to medical equipment or surface? Were all pieces of equipment and surfaces properly sanitized? Did all healthcare providers use aseptic technique during a procedure?
- Did all healthcare providers properly wash their hands? Did all healthcare providers use gloves during any and all procedures with potential exposure to wounds or body fluids? Did he/she change gloves between patients? Did all visitors and family members wash their hands when visiting the plaintiff?
- Is it possible the plaintiff contracted the bacteria after discharge from the medical facility? Was he/she exposed to the bacteria from a family member or visitor after discharge?
This month’s civil topic is “MRSA: Hospital or Health-Care Acquired Infection” Areas of discussion:
- MRSA transmission (10/6/14)
- Who’s At Risk? (10/13/14)
- Screening and Treatment (10/20/14)
- Legal Implications (10/27/14)
Note: To see all posts in this topic, click here