MRSA - Medical Malpractice LawyersLEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
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MRSA - Medical Malpractice
MRSA stands for "Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus" and is an infectious disease that is difficult to treat. It is hard to treat because the bacterium that causes the disease is a highly resistant form of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to all but the most powerful antibiotics.
Staphylococcus aureus is a relatively common bacterium is found normally on the skin and the nasal passages of the body. It can occur in healthy people and not cause problems. With MRSA, the disease tends to occur in people who are sick and who have methicillin resistant Staph aureus on their body and who cannot fight it off. The bacteria can enter the bloodstream through catheters or breathing tubes, or due to a cut or sore on the skin. The skin infection can be serious or minor but results in spread of the infection into the body. Weak immune systems play a role in getting Staphylococcus aureus infections and it is a common disease in long term care facilities, in hospitals, and in those who are on dialysis.
There are two types of MRSA. The first is healthcare associated MRSA and occurs in people who are in a hospital, long term care facility or are on dialysis. It can occur in a person at home who has been hospitalized within the past year. Many hospital acquired infections are due to MRSA. The second is community acquired MRSA and occurs in the general population. It is relatively less common than hospital acquired MRSA but is more common in athletes who share personal items or among people who spend a lot of time in daycare facilities. Military individuals and those who get tattoos are more likely to get MRSA. Community acquired MRSA used to be non-existent but it is now becoming more common.
Symptoms of MRSA include skin involvement. It shows up as red, painful and swollen areas of the skin and boils or pimples of the skin. These can deepen to include deep ulcerations that drain pus and abscesses that are fairly large. The affected areas are warm and you may have a fever.
Symptoms can also include chills, cough, chest pain, tiredness, fever, muscle aches, malaise, headache, skin rash or shortness of breath.
Doctors can test for MRSA by culturing the infected site where the skin is involved. A culture of the pus or drainage can show MRSA and a blood culture is positive if the infection is found in the bloodstream. A sputum culture can be done to see if there is MRSA pneumonia and a urine culture can show MRSA within the urinary tract.
The treatment of MRSA is difficult due to a lack of the ability of many antibiotics to take care of the infection. The doctor may need to treat the skin sore by draining pus from it. This can get rid of the main body of infection. Antibiotics that still seem to work against MRSA include daptomycin, clindamycin, Zyvox, doxycycline, tetracycline, Bactrim DS and vancomycin. The usual length of treatment of MRSA is ten to fourteen days and it is vital to take the entire antibiotic so that the MRSA does not become resistant to the antibiotic you are using. It is prone to relapse if you do not take the entire antibiotic dose for the prescribed length of time.
For more serious infections, medications may need to be hospitalized and treated with IV fluids and IV antibiotics. The patient may need oxygen and dialysis of the kidneys if the kidneys are failing as a result of the infection.
The prognosis of MRSA depends on the immune system of the patient and on how sick they were to begin with. People with poor immune systems have a high rate of bloodborne and lung infections, which have a high rate of death. Healthy people tend to do better but it is difficult to completely clear the infection from their system, especially if they have a catheter or other indwelling device.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here