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Hospital’s Shaving of Patient Alleged to Have Caused Severe Staph Infection

While most of us go to hospitals to get well, for an unfortunately high number of people a hospital is where they get sick. According to the Centers for Disease Control, as many as 1 out of 20 hospitalized patients wind up with some sort of infection over the course of their medical treatment. One such patient in Louisiana has filed a medical malpractice suit after suffering from such an infection allegedly caused by the medical professionals’ shaving of his pubic hair for his penile implant operation.

Louisiana Man Files Medical Malpractice Suit

The Louisiana Record reports that Timothy Hayden has filed suit against a doctor, a medical clinic, and others. Mr. Hayden went to Ochsner Medical Center-Westbank to undergo a penile implant procedure. According to his account, while he was under anesthesia someone shaved his pubic area. When he woke, he noticed what he thought were ingrown hairs in the area. He showed the area to his doctor, and the doctor allegedly told him to put ice on the area.
Three weeks later, Mr. Hayden had to undergo emergency surgery. Tissue in the area had become necrotic-that is, the cells had died. At that point he was diagnosed with gangrene do to a MRSA infection. He had to recover in a nursing home.

What is MRSA?

Commonly pronounced MER-SA, MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphhylococcus aureus. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is “a strain of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections.” While MRSA is becoming more and more common in the outside world, most people who are infected with MRSA have either been in hospitals or have been in other health care settings. The type of MRSA that people get outside of hospitals is called CA-MRSA-the “CA” stands for community-associated. People who are part of a population that shares close quarters or has a lot of skin-to-skin contact are at higher risk for CA-MRSA. Examples of vulnerable populations include team athletes and jail or prison inmates.

Because of the antibiotic-resistant nature of this infection, it can be difficult to treat and can sometimes be life threatening. In serious cases it can wind up infecting a person’s bloodstream, lungs, heart, bones, and joints. It is resistant to methicillin, amoxicillin, penicillin, oxacillin, and other antibiotics. The bacteria is spread by contact.

MRSA Infection is not Inevitable in Hospitals

There are ways that hospitals can substantially diminish the number of MRSA infections that occur. A report last year in The New York Times noted that “treating every single patient who enters an intensive care unit with special disinfectant soaps and ointments drastically reduces the spread of the drug-resistant bacteria MRSA and cuts the rate of bloodstream infections in hospitals.” While there is nothing that indicates that Mr. Hayden was ever in an intensive care unit, anything that reduced the overall prevalence of a type of infection reduces the risk for everyone.

See Related Posts:

Some Hospitals are Failing to Sterilize Surgical Instruments

How Many People Would Die Due to Hospital Acquired Infections if there Were No Civil Justice System – Part 2