Antibiotic-Resistant Staph Infections on the Rise
Written By: Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, Ruffo & Giuffra LLP
Health officials once considered MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) a low-level threat and the infection was usually contracted only in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities. Recently, however, it has become far more common in children's hospitals and in the community at large.
There are two types of MRSA, one acquired in medical institutions (called hospital-associated, or HA-MRSA) and another acquired in the outside world (called community-associated, or CA-MRSA). Both types are resistant to antibiotics and are therefore more dangerous than other staph infections.
In hospital-associated MRSA infections, the bacteria are spread during surgery and other medical testing and treatment procedures. Organ and bone transplants, for example, often result in MRSA. Those with weakened immune systems, including children and the elderly, are particularly vulnerable.
MRSA can also be spread in the community through skin contact, which places kids and adults who play team sports at increased risk of infection. The same is true for those who live in crowded residences with unsanitary conditions.
How MRSA Spreads
The spread of MRSA can happen quickly and occurs through skin contact, medical tubing, surgical procedures and a variety of other means. In community-associated MRSA, the bacteria are often spread when an infected person comes into contact with someone else, particularly at the site of the infection.
The initial stages of MRSA often resemble pimples or other skin abrasions, so it is not always diagnosed quickly. This leads to more exposure and allows the infection to advance to its more advanced stages.
Liability for MRSA
In some cases of MRSA infection, liability may be an issue. For example, if a physician uses improperly sterilized equipment or fails to follow proper procedures while performing surgery or inserting medical tubing, he or she may be legally liable for the patient's injuries.
If you believe that you or a loved one has contracted MRSA because of a physician's negligence, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately. An attorney can advise you of your options and investigate your claims to find out if a medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuit is warranted.