Sepsis & MRSA: What to Know About Hospital-Acquired Infections

“Drug resistant fungus” might sound like something from an alien movie. But according to a recent report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it might not be so out-of-this-world.

The CDC recently released information about candida auris, a fungus that causes dangerous infections in humans. Candida auris, or C. auris for short, invades the bloodstream, then spreads to other critical body parts. Around 30% to 60% of people with C. auris die, according to the CDC. It is particularly prevalent in hospitals, nursing homes, and other places where people are ill, injured, or immunocompromised.

C. auris is also drug-resistant, which means that it cannot be successfully treated with typical fungal infection remedies. Drug-resistant diseases generally occur through the overuse of antibiotics, which causes certain infections to build up immunity. Its resistance to antifungal infection drugs makes C. auris a big concern for people with a loved one in a hospital or nursing home. It is especially worrisome if there are concerns that a healthcare facility is not doing enough to prevent the spread of illnesses.

When someone contracts an infection at a hospital or other care facility, it is a hospital-acquired infection. Two of the more common types of hospital-acquired infections are sepsis and MRSA.

Sepsis

Sepsis is a medical condition that occurs when the body has an abnormal response while fighting an infection. When someone is coping with an infection, their body releases chemicals into their bloodstream to combat it, but the body can sometimes have an out-of-balance response to their chemicals, leading to sepsis. The early symptoms of sepsis include high blood pressure, mental changes, and a high respiratory rate. If it progresses to septic shock, it can impair blood flow to critical organs, leading to organ failure or death. Sepsis is not a disease on its own, but can result from a wide variety of infections and conditions, like urinary tract infections (UTIs) or surgical wounds.

MRSA

MRSA, on the other hand, is an infection. Formally called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a bacterium that is commonly found in the human body. In fact, 1/3 of all healthy people carry staph bacteria in their bodies. However, due to frequent or excessive antibiotic use, certain strains of staph become immune to common antibiotic treatments, leading to MRSA.

The main characteristic of MRSA is bumps on the skin. These bumps often resemble pimples or spider bites. These areas may be warm to the touch or filled with pus. These symptoms are frequently accompanied by a fever. When MRSA is effectively diagnosed, the infection remains confined to the skin. At this stage, it can be treated through surgical drainage or other procedures. However, if left untreated, the infection can spread to the bloodstream, where it can affect things like bones and joints, internal organs, or the urinary tract. Once it enters the bloodstream, MRSA is very difficult to treat, due to its resistance to antibiotics.

The Causes of Hospital-Acquired Infections

When someone is at the hospital with an injury or illness, they are already in a vulnerable state. This makes them especially susceptible to hospital-acquired infections, which can occur through:

  • Unsanitary conditions
  • Surgical errors
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Delay in treatment
  • Misuse of antibiotics

When someone contracts an infection due to improper procedures or inadequate conditions, it might fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. However, it can be difficult to prove the exact cause of a hospital-acquired infection. This is because many other factors, including the patient’s already vulnerable condition, play a role. If you think you or a loved one has contracted a hospital-acquired condition like sepsis or MRSA, speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

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The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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