MRSA Can and Does Kill!

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.

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