Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

At the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi, our nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience in litigating cases that involve preventable Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. We have a good working knowledge of the types of infection control procedures that should be used to prevent MRSA outbreaks and have had great success in cases involving laxity and negligence by nursing homes failing to comply with health and safety standards.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections have become increasingly common in healthcare facilities, especially nursing homes. MRSA is specific strain of staph bacteria that, through the overuse of antibiotics, has developed a resistance to methicillin and other penicillin-derivatives. The bacteria generally colonize the skin and nasal areas and can exist there without any direct negative impact on its host. But if MRSA manages to enter a person’s body, especially gaining access to the blood stream, infection can have very detrimental effects. Nursing home residents are at special risk as pressure sores, catheters, and breathing assistance machines all present easy infection sites. MRSA cases can be very serious, resulting in bacteremia and sepsis, pneumonia, and infections affecting, skin, soft tissue, bones and joints. (For more information, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

The problem with MRSA is that it is more difficult and costly to treat because of its resistance to certain antibiotics that are commonly used to treat and cure staph infections. Therefore, prompt containment of MRSA followed by thorough treatment measures is crucial for successful infection control. Nursing homes staff must be adequately educated and trained so that they can identify symptoms of MRSA and properly follow routine infection control measures. Such precautions are of the utmost importance not only because of the difficulty in treating MRSA, but also because of the increased susceptibility of the elderly to this infection. The immune systems of residents in nursing homes are generally compromised, so MRSA infections are more dangerous, and more frequently fatal, than in the general population.

Like other infections, indirect transmission by nursing staff's hands is the main challenge in controlling the propagation of MRSA infections. Good hygiene of both nursing staff and residents with MRSA colonization are imperative to prevent an outbreak. Because MRSA can survive on surfaces and fabrics as well, an infected resident's room and all other clinical areas need to be decontaminated through surface sanitation with alcohol and terminal cleaning. Staff members have to be vigilant in cleaning themselves, as well as any tools they use, as they travel from patient to patient to prevent any spread of the infection.

Proper infection control for MRSA cases involves the separation of infected individuals and carriers. Isolation is vital to stop the spread to other residents within the facility. Nursing homes must devote adequate space to keep the uninfected and infected separate and the staff numbers to supervise and regulate the movements of affected individuals to stop any direct contact that could result in an outbreak.

Outbreaks in nursing homes are difficult to control and require quick systematic responses, especially so for MRSA because of the difficulties involved in treatment. To do this, facilities need to have pre-established response procedures and employ enough nursing staff to carry them out. If a resident contracts MRSA because there were not sufficient staff members to implement proper infection-control measures the nursing home is liable.

If your loved one has suffered because of a MRSA infection due to improper infection control or understaffing in his or her nursing home, please contact us today. Come into our offices for a free consultation to discuss what we can do to help your loved get the proper care and compensation he or she deserves. Our legal team specializes in nursing home litigation and abuse cases, so we are well prepared to fight for you and your loved one and pursue the case through to trial if necessary.