Calling on Hospitals to Prevent Spread of MRSA

The problems with health care in the U.S. are many and there’s plenty of blame to go around. That doesn’t mean that we bear no responsibility for our own health and well-being. 

There are a great many things individuals can and should do to remain healthy and to ward off preventable illness. The same is true of hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.

Cases of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are on the rise worldwide. MRSA, often referred to as a “super bug,” is a fast-spreading infection that is highly resistant to antibiotics and is sometimes fatal. The most deadly strain is specific to health care facilities. 

According the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2005 there were 18,650 hospital-related deaths in the United States due to MRSA, more than AIDS-related deaths. 

Most of us are taught the importance of hand washing at a tender age. It’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to rid ourselves of harmful bacteria.

When we are in the hospital, we take it for granted that surgical teams will scrub up prior to surgery. But during the course of a hospital stay, we can very easily lose track of the number of health care workers in and out of our room. It is almost impossible for a patient to monitor. We must assume that the people entrusted with our care are washing their hands between patients and after touching materials that may spread infection. Sometimes we’re assuming too much. Yet it is this simple act of hand washing — something we take for granted — that is the single most important thing we can do to cut down on the spread of MRSA in the hospital. 

The health care costs associated with MRSA — increased number of days in the hospital, medications, and follow-up care — are staggering, adding tens of thousands  of dollars to the total cost of a hospital stay.

There is another type of MRSA, community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) that is not associated with health care facilities. This strain can hit otherwise healthy people, but usually causes milder symptoms. Repeated doctor visits and medication costs quickly add up.

While we can’t say that hand washing alone will protect you from MRSA, it would be foolish to discount its importance.

Hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities must take the steps necessary to educate ALL staff and to ensure that proper hand washing is mandatory and monitored. It is not only a tremendous financial drain on our overburdened facilities, it is a matter of life and death. Preventable death. 


Anna M.
Anna M8 years ago

I am uninsured and just racked up $5,000 in medical costs due to a MRSA infection. The US health care systems is beyond absurd

Pamela D.
Pamela D8 years ago

My daughter was recently hospitaized and had to be hydrated by I.V. I had to ask the Dr., and a nuse to wash their hands before rendering care! The nurse appeared to be offended at my request. I stood vigil over my daughter, but politely requested proper hand hygiene. This simple act of hand washing, and changing gloves, could save untold patients from this devastating condition. I am a healthcare worker. Thank you for speaking out against this deadly practice!

Mona Makela
Mona M8 years ago

Just remove the wall-to-wall carpeting from every hospital in the US and that would be a drastic change.

When I moved to the US from Northern Europe 1990 and visited a hospital here for the first time I was devastated to see wall-to-wall carpeting nearly everywhere.

It doesn't matter how "well" they are cleaned, they are never clean. They are a breeding ground for bacteria as long as they exist.

littlewing G.
8 years ago

My Niece Got it in hospital after a C-section.

Ski M.
Ski M8 years ago

MRSA has been a major problem in UK hospitals for a few years now. It is caused by one thing and one thing alone, bad hospital hygiene. It is an infection carried by many of us in out nasal passages and is easily tested for. To prevent transmission EVERYONE must clean their hands with alcohol based gel as they move from one area oof the hospital to another, before touching a patient, after touching a patient.
The hospital must clean every bed, bedside table, cabinet and chair with alcohol between patients and daily.
After MRSA became common in NHS hospital in the UK, C. difficile arrived, a severe antibiotic resistant bowel infection. That is caused by people not washing their hands after using the toilet. The hands must be washed under hot running water with soap, paying attention to palms, fingers, wrists, and thumbs. Then, ideally the hands should be dried under a hot air drier and then covered in alcohol gel.