MRSA Can End A Life!

MRSA! Do you know what this is and what can happen to someone who gets it? Per the Encarta Dictionary, MRSA is defined as, a strain of a common infection-causing bacterium that has become resistant to treatment by the antibiotic Methicillin and is therefore a hazard in places like hospitals. I am not a medical professional, however, I witnessed MRSA in action when a dear friend of mine was hospitalized for over six months. We have all heard about staph infections and in prior times Staphylococcus aureus could be treated with antibiotics.

Today, staph has strengthened in its ability to become resistant to many antibiotics. The scary part of MRSA is that it can colonize on the skin or body of a person without causing sickness and therefore can easily be passed on to any person unknowingly. There are three main reasons for the spread of his infection. The staff in a hospital or nursing home, the patients in the hospital and the general public can pass on this killer as well as any item that is touched by a MRSA carrier. The main places that MRSA attacks are the nostrils, wounds and skin. Because patients are not in the best of health and often their immune systems are weakened, they are ripe and ready for the MRSA attack.

I am writing this to advise you of what I saw happening in one of the finest hospitals in the country. My friend was in an isolation room which meant that anyone entering his room had to wear gloves, gown and a mask and then remove them upon departure and place them in a “contaminated” container. Hand washing and use of hand sanitizer were required. He, like many patients, had MRSA along with other problems.

I had no fewer than one hundred and fifty visits with my friend during his illness. He has since passed on and it is for his desire to inform people of the dangers of MRSA and for him, that I am sharing my experiences with you. I offer you this information in his honor and in honor of the man that he was. I know he would want everyone to be concerned about MRSA. I will mention only a few of the outrageous occurrences that I witnessed while visiting him. I can only hope that you will take action if you or a loved one, are in a hospital.

I watched overworked nurses and aids just run in real quick to check a monitor or reset it. They sometimes used hand sanitizer when entering but not often when leaving. So how about the next person or thing that they touched?

The staff often allows the regular visitors of a long term hospitalized patient to use the kitchen and store items in the fridge or to make coffee. I watched as a visitor from another isolation room took off his gloves and gown and then proceed to the kitchen. He sneezed and blew his nose, opened the fridge, took a drink from the water fountain, greeted a friend with a hand shake and placed his coffee on a counter in order to stand and visit. One of the aids moved his cup out of her way and then entered my friend’s room. She put on a gown and one glove. I watched as she used the same hand that had moved the coffee cup to help my friend sit up in bed.

She got buzzed and used the same hand to answer the caller. She left to handle whatever in the same gown and one glove. I watched the man with the coffee cup go to his loved one’s room. He put the cup on the floor, put on his gloves and gown, picked up the contaminated coffee cup and entered the patient’s room and unknowingly and potentially spread MRSA. From that moment on I began to take notes of the visitor, patient and staff infractions which could have led to the spread of MRSA.

When I reported the broken rules to the powers that be, I was treated as though I had done something wrong.  Our staff follow the rules. You must have been mistaken.

Please everyone, be proactive when you visit or become a patient in hospital. You may be saving a life without even knowing it. For that saved life and in memory of my friend’s life, I thank you. Pay it forward.