Is a hospital responsible if a patient gets a staph infection?

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

Patients in hospitals are particularly vulnerable to contracting a bacterial infection called MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA can be hard to eradicate and can resist treatment with the drugs that are usually used for such infections. 

While not every staph infection with MRSA can be prevented, most can. If negligence by hospital personnel was the reason a patient contracted MRSA, that patient may have some legal options.

Why are patients in hospitals at elevated risk for MRSA? 

When you are a patient, MRSA can infiltrate your body in many ways, through feeding tubes, open wounds, IVs, burns and catheters. Furthermore, MRSA tends to be very resilient, so it can linger on items found in hospital settings like towels that have been used and stained bedclothes. 

In addition, one source states that “one in every thirty people” have MRSA present on their skin. So if those carriers touch a patient, or interact with a nurse or doctor, that contact facilitates its spread.

Preventative steps can be taken in hospitals to stop the spread of MRSA

Hospital staff who have contact with patients should be robustly attentive to cleanliness all the time. They can do the following:

  • Wash their hands after touching any contaminated object
  • Have rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols in place, particularly in high-touch areas where there are patients
  • Wash hands following all patient exams
  • Use disposable gloves whenever possible

Healthcare settings are teeming with people all the time – nurses, doctors, friends and family and patients, coming to visit, delivery employees and repair technicians. Maintaining a completely sterile environment is impossible. Still, the above measures can be implemented to make healthcare surroundings a less fertile breeding ground for MRSA.

If a reasonable standard of cleanliness and sanitation was not maintained in the hospital where you were a patient and you contracted MRSA, you might want to see if you can obtain fair compensation.