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Was your hospital stay extended due to MRSA?

You may have heard that there seems to be an epidemic of hospital-acquired infections in medical facilities across the country, including some here in Ohio. Perhaps you figured that since hospitals were aware of the problem, that automatically reduces your chances of contracting one of these superbug infections.

After finding yourself hospitalized after a surgery or due to some other health concern, you began feeling worse. By the time doctors diagnosed your condition, you required aggressive treatment for what most people know as MRSA.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

That mouthful of a name is MRSA. It probably wouldn't be overstating things to say that it's a staph infection on steroids. Everyone has bacteria living on their skin, including Staphylococcus aureus. Ordinarily, it doesn't harm you. However, if you have sort of break in your skin such as from a puncture, cut or some other opening, that bacteria could enter your body and cause an infection.

MRSA enters the body when a surface or person contaminated with it touches a break in your skin. For instance, if a nurse touches a patient with MRSA then touches you, or you touch a surface contaminated with the bacteria, such as a table or a bed, you could become infected. If the bacteria has entered your body, you will develop either a bump or infected area with the following characteristics:

  • Warm to the touch
  • Painful
  • Red
  • Swollen
  • Fever
  • Presence of pus or other drainage

Being hospitalized increases your susceptibility to such an infection since you probably suffer from a compromised immune system. Catching the presence of MRSA as quickly as possible is vital to receiving the appropriate treatment. The infection already fails to respond to one family of antibiotics. If doctors fail to catch and aggressively treat the infection early enough, the treatment options continue to diminish, and you could end up with sepsis, in which your body attacks itself. In either instance, your life could be in jeopardy. 

Once you leave the hospital

After doctors finally give you a clean or relatively clean bill of health, you may begin to wonder whether you received the appropriate standard of care while in the hospital. If doctors had noticed, diagnosed and treated your condition sooner, would you have suffered through MRSA and/or sepsis? You may need to answer these questions in order to determine whether an avenue for the pursuit of compensation exists.

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