Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is commonly referred to as a MRSA infection. Over 60 percent of staph infections found in hospitals and nursing homes are MRSA infections.
As an Ohio wrongful death attorney, I have learned that in the last 10 years, there has been a 90 percent increase in MRSA and other superbug infections in the United States. These strains of infections do not seem to be going away and it is expected to become a more serious problem in the years ahead.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 90,000 deaths a year which result from more than 3.5 million infections in hospitals and nursing homes, with the number on the rise.
MRSA can be contracted anywhere, but hospitals and nursing homes are a hotbed of infection for several reasons. In hospitals, many immune-weakened people are in close proximity to each other. Also, the use of catheters and intravenous drips create a wound that can allow infection with MRSA.
It is sad, but true that you can be in an accident, suffer injuries, and the contract MRSA days, weeks or months after your accident, depending on your injuries.
Now the problem with MRSA infections is that they do not respond to a wide variety of antibiotics. This means that there is no guarantee that MRSA can be “cured”. It is a very serious concern for Ohio hospitals and nursing homes, and prevention of such MRSA infections has become a hot topic among hospital administrators in the last few years.
I have a client who received a simple thumb cut during an ohio car accident. It seemed like the wound should have healed quickly. However, after a wide range of symptoms and hospitalizations, the doctors finally diagnosed here with MRSA. Her immune system is compromised from her accident related injuries, and her future is uncertain.
The lesson here is that it can take doctors some time to diagnose MRSA and treat it effectively. It is important that all Ohioans know the symptoms of MRSA so that if they have these symptoms at any time, especially after an accident, they seek medical treatment immediately. This can save their lives.
Now people who are healthy with strong immune systems can usually defeat the Staphylococcus aureus infection themselves and the symptoms they experience are usually rather mild. However, those with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV, and those who have undergone surgery or received serious accident related injuries, can have a harder time fighting off MRSA and other infections. With a weakened immune system, people may experience MRSA symptoms such as boils, abscesses, blistering of the skin, heart problems, toxic shock syndrome and septic wounds. In some cases the patient can die.
There are several common antibiotics that still work on MRSA, including vancomycin, teicoplanin and mupirocin.
Now whether you are in a hospital for treatment for a car accident or an appendectomy, MRSA is a real concern. Getting MRSA while in a hospital can give rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, doctors, nurses, etc.
As for medical malpractice lawsuits and MRSA, the issue becomes whether or not the hospital or nursing home set up and followed adequate protocols to adequately reduce your exposure to MRSA and other serious diseases. While it may be impossible to eliminate the risk, the hospital does have a duty to reduce this risk for its patients.
If the hospital does not meet the minimum standard of the community of hospitals or nursing homes, then a medical malpractice lawsuit may be appropriate. Be advised that you may have as little as one year to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Ohio, and counsel should be found immediately if you believe you have a MRSA medical malpractice case.
With respect to car accidents in Ohio, any competent Ohio wrongful death attorney will tell you that contracting MRSA while being treated for accident related injuries becomes part of your car accident lawsuit damages. The party who caused the accident is liable for all damages reasonably foreseeable from his negligence. Contracting MRSA from accident related treatment or injuries is arguably foreseeable and the at-fault driver should pay these medical bills and pain and suffering surrounding these MRSA related injuries. If a person dies from MRSA contracted from injuries or treatment from the accident, then the car accident claim becomes a wrongful death claim. An experienced Ohio car accident lawyer can help “build” this personal injury case and help gather expert evidence that MRSA resulted directly or indirectly from the accident.
The real point of this article is that MRSA can be contracted anywhere, especially hospital and nursing homes, and knowing what to look for and seeking immediate medical help can save your life.