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

My name is Bonnie Getz. I live in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I hope my story will help others before something tragic happens to you. I have had Arthritis most of my life.  Because of the Arthritis, I have had almost 20 surgeries in my lifetime. I have never had any problems with the hospitals, doctors, or nurses, until that day in March 2006.

In 1984 I had a Total Knee Replacement. My knee lasted for a good 20 years then it started giving me problems in 2006. I went to an Orthopedic doctor, and he had a scan done of my leg. Besides the knee being bad, the bone above and below my knee was eaten up. The doctor felt I needed to go to another surgeon. He made the appointment.   I liked the doctor. I put my trust and faith in him especially since he was recommended by another doctor. That was my first mistake. RULE NO 1: Always check the doctor out; no matter, who recommends him to you. Ask him any questions that you want to know. It is your life you are talking about not his.

During the surgery, he had a culture done of my knee. He informed me that the surgery went well. I was in the hospital for a week then transferred to the Rehabilitation Dept. in the hospital. During the following three weeks, the doctors informed me that my knee was doing good. It wasn’t until I left the hospital that the problems started.

RULE NO. 2: Seventy-Two (72) hours before being released from the hospital, be sure you have the doctor perform another culture on you. Be sure to get the results before you leave. That is very important. Also, while you are in the hospital make sure that everyone that enters your room, washes his hands.
RULE NO. 3: Whoever enters your room, make sure they wash their hands with soap and water. You do not know where they have been. One way to spread staph infections is through skin to skin contact.
RULE NO. 4. Before the hospital staff uses their stethoscope and blood pressure cuff on you, ask them to clean them with alcohol. It is stated that the blood pressure cuffs are usually not cleaned; as well as, the flat part of the Stethoscope. Some forms of staph infection can linger on surfaces for days. Two days after I left the hospital, the nurse visited my house. When she unwrapped the bandages, my knee was infected. Two days later I saw my doctor’s partner since my doctor left town before I was released from the hospital. That day the first culture was done since the surgery. By that time I was beginning to be affected by the infection. The infection was so bad that I didn’t know what was going on. My husband had to drive me to the hospital as fast as he could. The nurse put a pillow under my leg so I would be more comfortable on my trip to the hospital. Once we got to the hospital, it was very difficult for me to get out of the car. My husband had to almost drag me out since I could not make my legs do what I wanted them to do. I remembered the awful pain in my leg, and I felt my head going in circles. Once we got to the hospital, I remember my husband wheeling me all over the hospital trying to find out where we were to go. The doctor immediately gave me penicillin, but it didn’t help any. On Saturday the results came back from the culture, you guessed it. It was the dreadful infection, MRSA. At that time the doctors gave me the right antibiotic. The medicine started working late that night. I was in the hospital another two weeks and three (3) more surgeries. The partner operated that Sunday. My doctor came back on Monday, and the first thing he said was “The hospital did this to you.” At that time I did not realize why he was making that remark. After visiting the doctor for nine (9) months, I asked him what happened to my leg. I wanted to know why The Physical Therapists kept putting me off on someone else. It was that day that I believed my doctor made several mistakes that would cost me a lot.

RULE No. 5: This is your life. You need to be involved in any decision-making that concerns you. Make sure the doctor understands that he is to tell you everything especially if there is something wrong with you. You must be told.

After that visit, I decided to get my medical records. It cost me $535, but it was worth it to me. After looking through the records, I found out that the doctors in the hospital felt something was wrong with my knee. Did they say anything to me, of course not. The hospital would be liable if they did. Instead they got me out as soon as they could. The doctors felt I may have to have an I & D. Did they tell me? Of course not. That is why it is very important for the patient to be very involved with their hospital stay. Ask questions, and then ask more questions. It might be a good idea to have pen and paper at your bedside. When you think of questions, be sure to jot them down or you might forget them. When the doctor comes in, ask him your questions. Show him that you must know what is going on. Also, watch everyone that comes into your room. If they say something that you don’t understand, ask them what they are talking about. Don’t feel embarrassed, this is your life. I wish that I had done all this during my hospital stay. Now I have to use a walker or wear a brace on my leg; in order, to walk. I feel my life has been cut short due to wearing this brace. The brace is light, but sometimes it feels heavy on my leg. Also, I fall a lot. I am so afraid that one day I will hurt myself when I fall. Also, I will have to buy a new brace every six months. That will cost me at least $150 each time, for the rest of my life. That money comes out of my pocket. It is a losing battle for me. I can no longer do the things that I’ve done in the past such as going to the store, shopping at the mall, cleaning my house, etc. I have fallen several times due to my knee given out on me. I’ve had to take a row of seats out of my van, so my walker would fit inside.

It is surprising to see how many businesses do not have a ramp to their offices. Sometimes it is difficult for me to go inside of those businesses. A lot of stores have doors that are heavy and makes it impossible to open without help.

For the past two (2) years I have been trying to come to terms with what happened to me. It is very difficult not being able to do the things I used to do. But I have to face the facts. I know I am not the person I was before the surgery. I decided to start a non profit organization to educate the public on the dangers of Staph Infections. I feel if I can help at least one person from going through what I have gone through and will continue to go through every day for the rest of my life, then maybe that will help me in my daily struggles. So on March 30, 2008, exactly two (2) years from the date of my surgery, my company was born. It is named Fight Staph Infections, Inc.



Make Donations To: 

Fight Staph Infections, Inc.
624 Station West Lane
Roebuck, S. C.  29376
(864) 431-1411

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