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Avoiding postsurgical MRSA infection

People planning to have surgery in Louisiana may have concerns about becoming infected with MRSA after surgery. The concern is valid as MRSA infection is a common postsurgical complication that poses treatment challenges. The good news is that patients and doctors can take steps to prevent MRSA and other postsurgical infections.

MRSA, sometimes pronounced "mersa," stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. According to the Mayo Clinic, Staphylococcus aureus is species of potentially disease-causing bacteria. Approximately one-third of the population has Staphylococcus aureus living in their noses or on their skin. Under normal circumstances, these bacteria are sensitive to antibiotic medications. Though very effective at killing bacteria, antibiotics do not have a 100% success rate, and bacteria that have survived antibiotic treatment adapt so that it is more difficult to treat an infection with antibiotics. When this happens, the bacteria have developed resistance.

According to WebMD, MRSA and other infections are a common complication following surgery because hospitals are hotbeds of germs, and antibiotics frequently used in hospitals provide bacteria plenty of opportunities to adapt and become resistant. However, there are some steps that patients and doctors can take to prevent post-surgical infection:

  • Ensure that all surgical staff wash their hands prior to surgery
  • Remove hair at the surgical site with electric clippers rather than a razor
  • Learn to recognize signs of infection
  • Refuse visits from family members who show symptoms of illness

While taking these steps can reduce the chances of infection, they cannot guarantee that no infection will occur. A post-surgical infection does not necessarily mean that medical malpractice has occurred, but if doctors' or nurses' negligence causes a post-surgical infection, the patient has a right to seek damages.

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