MRSA Infection Lawyers: Infant Infection Rates Rise
Although a growing number of experts are recognizing that most hospital MRSA infections can be prevented if certain preventative steps are followed by medical facilities, new research indicates that the number of newborn babies infected with antibacterial resistant “super bugs” has tripled over the last several years.
MRSA, known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a difficult-to-treat infection in humans because it is resistant to a large group of antibiotics. In hospitals, where patients with a weakened immune system are at greater risk of infection than the general public, medical staff have a duty to follow proper sanitary procedures to reduce the risk of transferring the bacteria from patient to patient.
This month’s issue of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal contains a study on infant infection rates at hospital NICU (neonatal intensive care units) across the country. Since 1994, there has been a sharp increase in the rate of infant hospital infections, including a tripling of the number of MRSA infant infections.
Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at data from the National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance system from 1995 through 2004. The data included 5.9 million patient-days of information. Analysis of the data found that the rate of late-onset MRSA infections increased from 0.7 percent in 1995 to 3.1 percent in 2004. That represents an increase of 308%. MRSA infections represented 23% of all infant NICU staph infections.
The study focused primarily on late-onset infections. These infections do not occur during the first three days after delivery, which can be attributed to transmission during labor and delivery. Instead, these infections are likely passed on to children from parents, hospital workers and other contacts with people and things during a hospital stay before release. The study found that most of the MRSA strains found in NICU infants were from strains mostly associated with hospital-acquired infections.
Because of the special nature of NICUs and the differences between infant and adult health care, the study’s researchers said new strategies may need to be developed in order to protect infants from hospital infections. CDC researchers concluded that the study indicates “a need to reinforce infection control recommendations and to explore potential sources and routes of transmission.”
HOSPITAL INFECTION LAWYERS
There are more than 2 million hospital infections acquired each year, resulting in about 90,000 deaths annually. Another 1.5 million long term care and nursing home infections occur every year. Infections can also lead to chronic health conditions and permanent physical damage, including potential amputation of limbs to prevent the spread of the infection.
Experts suggest that when hospitals follow certain steps and protocols, the infection rate at a particular facility can be negligible. These protocols include frequent washing of hands, instruments and patient rooms. In addition, screening for latent infections in incoming patients can allow staff to take steps to prevent other hospital patients from becoming infected.
If your child or a family member has suffered from a hospital MRSA infection which resulted in serious injury or death, potential compensation may be available through a hospital malpractice lawsuit if staff failed to follow proper precautions to reduce the risk of infection. To review a potential claim with our hospital infection lawyers, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.