Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, most often simply referred to as MRSA, causes an infection that is resistant to several common antibiotics. An estimated 90,000 people in the United States fall ill each year from MRSA. However, it is not clear how many die from the infection; one estimate puts it at more than 18,000, which would be slightly higher than U.S. deaths from AIDS. The infection has been associated with health care facilities, where it infects people with weakened immune systems. However, many recent cases involve an aggressive strain, community-associated MRSA, or CA-MRSA. Community-associated MRSA is generally the result of skin-to-skin contact between individuals. The infection can be life threatening if untreated. It is spread through close contact with an infected person, or by touching surfaces or personal items used by infected people. As a result, this disease is common among athletes and people in hospitals and jails. MRSA infections produce abscesses, boils and other pus-filled lesions on the skin.
Allegheny County has seen a tremendous rise in the number of community-associated MRSA cases. This year alone, more than 100 cases of community-associated MRSA have been reported in Allegheny County, a figure that already exceeds the 2006 total. Most recently, several Mount Lebanon High School football players have contracted MRSA, and two students in the North Hills School District were recently diagnosed with MRSA.
Fox News reported that the family of a 12-year-old boy that died from a staph infection intends to sue the city of New York, seeking damages of $25 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. Omar Rivera died from MRSA on October 14 at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center. Omar's mother, Aileen Rivera, had taken the 7th grader to the hospital because she wasn't satisfied with the care that he was getting at a clinic, which belongs to New York City's public hospital system. Mrs. Rivera claims that the doctor at Kings County Hospital Center misdiagnosed Omar's illness, identifying it as an allergic reaction rather than an infection. Because of this misdiagnosis, no tests were ordered and Omar was only given Benadryl for his skin lesions. Mrs. Rivera said her suit will be based upon the failure of doctors at Kings County Hospital Center to diagnose Omar's MRSA infection.
Here are some suggestions to prevent community-associated MRSA:
- Practice good hygiene
- Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed
- Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages
- Avoid sharing personal items, such as towels, washcloths, razors, or clothes
- Wash soiled sheets, towels and clothes in hot water with bleach and dry in a hot dryer
- If a wound appears to be infected, see a healthcare provider. Treatment may include draining the infection and antibiotics.
Misdiagnosing a patient can be a serious problem-especially if the wrong diagnosis results in the patient sustaining injuries, becoming more ill, or dying. A misdiagnosis can cause doctors to give a patient the wrong medication or treatment. In addition, a person's chances of survival could decrease with a misdiagnosis.
The Pittsburgh law firm of Rosen Louik & Perry, P.C. has represented victims of medical malpractice involving cases where a misdiagnosis has been made, as well as representing people in wrongful death cases. Medical malpractice can occur when a doctor or other medical provider neglects to properly care for a patient during treatment or when they fail to properly diagnose (or delay in diagnosing) a condition.
If you or someone you love has been a victim of medical practice due to a medical provider's error, it is important that you speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who can evaluate your case for you and file a claim on your behalf. Contact the Pittsburgh, PA medical malpractice law firm of Rosen Louik & Perry, P.C. today for your FREE consultation.
The Pittsburgh Channel