Fight Staph Infections, Inc. 
My battle with a hospital acquired MRSA infection
JAN. NEWSLETTER 09

                              How Patients Prevent Staph Infections In Hospitals

Hello Everyone,

    I hope that 2009 brings good health to everyone in the coming year.

    Well, I told you that I would tell you about my right shoulder surgery. My surgery went well. At least, I didn’t get the return of the dreaded MRSA again. I give myself full credit for my successful surgery outcome. Because I have educated myself on MRSA, I knew what to do and what not to do. When I informed my doctor that I had MRSA previously, he stated that he would have the internal medicine doctor test me for MRSA. My surgeon wanted to make sure it wasn’t active. When I saw the internal medicine doctor, my surgeon had not informed her that I had MRSA in the past. I told the doctor that my surgeon wanted me tested for MRSA. Remember, it is very important for you to let the doctors know what is wrong with you. A week before my surgery I had to see the surgeon for a Preop Examination. My surgeon told me that all my tests had come back negative. I informed my surgeon that I wanted the test for MRSA with a nose swab, and tested prior to being discharged. I guess he thought I meant during preop, so he had his nurse do it before I left his office. I also reminded him to be sure and give me an antibiotic prior to the surgery.

    The day of surgery had finally arrived. I had to take a shower before leaving home, and I applied the antibacterial medicine the nurse had given me before leaving the office. At the time of surgery, I was given the antibiotic that would fight any staph infection that you might get during surgery. The surgery on my right shoulder went well. After surgery, I was taken to my room. This was the first time that I had surgery at Patewood Memorial Hospital. The hospital was aware that I had MRSA prior to this surgery, so this allowed me to be admitted to an isolated room. My isolated room already had everything in it that the nurses needed to treat me. By having equipment in each isolated room, there is less likely a chance the nurse or doctor can spread any staph infection between patients. In an isolated room, the nurses leave their computers at the door. The nurses stand at the door and ask the patients their input questions. The hospital does not want any patient to get MRSA from any equipment. I really think this is an excellent idea for all hospitals to adopt these safety procedures.

    After my surgery, I was given two (2) more treatments of antibiotics to make sure that I would not get an infection. The nurse informed me that in order for the antibiotics to work, I must be given the antibiotics within 24 hours of the surgery. The nurse gave me an IV antibiotic treatment around 4 p.m. and at midnight. On Friday the internal medicine doctor visited my room. The doctor asked me many questions. I noticed that the doctor kept taking her stethoscope out of her coat pocket. The doctor moved it from one hand to another and back to her pocket. When the doctor started to use the stethoscope on me, I immediately asked her to please wash her stethoscope. The doctor quickly told me, “I was going to do that.” Well, this is an example of what I have been saying from the very beginning; you must look out and protect yourself. If I hadn’t caught the doctor and asked her to wash it, I could have caught some type of staph infection from patients that she used her stethoscope on. Word must have gotten around the hospital about this doctor having to clean her stethoscope. I noticed now that every time a doctor came into my room, the doctor was cleaning their stethoscope. It just takes one time, and then all the doctors will remember to clean their stethoscopes. Spreading staph infections in hospitals must stop now! All doctors and nurses must be held accountable for their proper precautions. The rest of my weekend passed without any further incidents.

    I reminded my doctor on the day of the surgery, that I wanted a nose swab test for staph infection done prior to being discharged from the hospital. He told me to remind him later about getting tested again for staph infection closer to being discharged. That Friday I saw my surgeon again. He said he was going to give me another unit of blood, since my blood level was very low. After that visit, I did not see my surgeon ever again during my stay in the hospital. My surgeon’s partner did come in to visit me on Saturday. I told his partner that I would like to be tested for MRSA with a nose swab test. The partner told me that I would not need the test, since I was only in the hospital a few days. The doctor stated that I was tested prior to being admitted to the hospital and that the test was negative. He stated that the hospital is fairly new, and there has never been any staph infections in this hospital. I told the doctor that I still wanted the test, but he would not give me a consent for it. On Sunday, the day of my discharge, the internal medicine doctor visited my room. I told the doctor that I wanted the nose swab test for MRSA done prior to my discharge. The doctor stated that I would not get the results back for several days. The doctor told me that he would prescribe the nose swab medication that would kill the staph spores in my nose; so, I really didn’t need the test. When my husband arrived, I told him about my conversations with both doctors. We told the nurse that we wanted to talk to the doctor again, so we asked her to have the internal medicine doctor come back to my room. When the doctor came by my room again, we both told him that I wanted the MRSA staph infection test. Between both my husband and myself, we finally persuaded the doctor to give me the MRSA staph infection test again. He also gave me the prescription that would kill the staph infection spores. The lab then gave me the nose swab test. Then finally, after getting retested for staph infection, I was discharged from the hospital.

    I have to admit that this was a very good hospital. The nurses always came in when I rang my bell. I felt the staff was doing everything possible to keep me from getting any staph infection again. In my room there were two windows together facing a nurse desk. The nurses sat on the other side of the windows and watched me through the blinds. I think it is a great idea that nurses have the capability of watching a patient all the time.      In conclusion, I have to give Patewood Memorial Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina an A+. My stay could have been a disaster with a rating of F, if I had gotten a staph infection. By being a patient advocate for yourself, you must speak up and demand the best and also the right medical treatment. Speaking up for yourself and taking precautions will prevent you from getting a staph infection while in the hospital. You are really the only one who can protect yourself from a deadly staph infection with proper prevention. Self patient advocacy allows patients to never be a victim of poor medical treatment while under the care of a hospital.

     Left picture shows all the medical equipment that was left in my isolated room. Right picture are the windows where nurses can watch a patient in an isolated room.

 

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