At best, Methicillin Resistant Staph Infections may be in the form of a rash or resemble a boil or spider bite; at worst they may be systemic, keep coming back, cause a brain abscess, aneurysm, amputation, sepsis, cellulitis, pneumonia or death. How bad it gets may depend on how quickly your diagnosed and treated.
31 year old Norma Dearman of Meridian, Mississippi, learned the hard way about a quick and accurate diagnosis. She went to a
Meridian area hospital with a lesion on her left buttock that was draining pus, and was sent home with a diagnosis of spider bite, some pain medicine, and an antibiotic. The lesion was not cultured or drained.
With the left buttocks still draining, the right side began to swell, and Norma started passing out and running a fever so she went to the ER at
. They hooked her up to a Morphine pump and Doctor Makey said, "This is no spider bite, I'm sure it is staph, but I'm going to do a culture to make sure." Unfortunately it came back positive for MRSA, and is systemic because her blood grew MRSA. Rush Hospital
Norma's mother, Joyce Robinson, says, "A scratch on her finger festered up in the hospital and she had blisters in her mouth everywhere. Doctor Makey said it is very serious. He got over a quart and a half of infection out of her buttock and the wounds were so wide I could stick my hand sideways in her gashes and it was as deep as you could see."
Joyce is angry, and feels if Norma had been given a proper diagnosis to begin with, that it would not have gotten to this point. "It was so bad, you could smell her when you walked past, she smelled like rotten meat. I'm just thankful to God for Dr. Makey. If not for him, I'm afraid my daughter would be dead. While I was in the hospital at Rush there were three other people on the fifth floor hooked up to drips for the same thing."
Norma believes she caught MRSA from her 8 year old daughter Erica. Erica, went into the hospital for a tosnillectomy in August and in September started having what was first diagnosed as spider bites. "Now Doctor Makey says it is MRSA. Had we know it was contagious we might have been able to prevent It's spread to Norma." Norma does not know if Erica got MRSA from school or the hospital.
East Lauderdale school nurse, Kim Rivers, says she has definitely seen an increase in staph infections and spider or insect bites. "It is really hard to tell the difference, and if the wound heals on its own, many of my students do not go to the doctor. However, I've had several that had to go to the doctor for antibiotics because local treatment would not do, and I know of at least one parent that has had to be hospitalized with it besides Erica's mother."
When Tyler Hagan of the Little Rock Community was diagnosed the third time with a spider bite, his parents questioned the ER physician about whether it was a bite or something in
's blood. The doctor pulled Tyler Tyler's medical records for us and informed us that had come back positive for staph back in June. Tyler
"Naturally I was upset to find out in August that
had been diagnosed with MRSA in June. When I called the hospital for the results of Tyler 's culture they told me everything was fine. I feel that had I not insisted the hospital would never have informed me about the staph. They told me they had done all they could do, and sent Tyler to see Doctor Nancy J. Dorman, MD, PHD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at University Medical Center in Jackson. Tyler
"Naturally I was upset to find out in August that
Doctor Dorman told us that
had MRSA. She put him on Rifampin and Doxycycline and told us "If this does not work he will have to be hospitalized because it can become air-born and turn into Pneumonia and possibly result in death, and that the whole family will need to be tested to see if it is colonized, and if so, everyone will need to be treated. " Tyler
Doctor Dorman told Carol. "It is easy for doctors to mistake MRSA for a Brown Recluse bite, but the odds of being bitten by a spider that often is not realistic, and unless you have the dead spider in your hand, then assume MRSA. Spiders do not carry staph." Right now the family is waiting and praying.
Hepa rules prevent hospitals from comment on individual cases, but Doctor David Makey says, "Staph is not the only organism that has become smart, but it seems to be the one giving us the most trouble." I just came from a meeting discussing new antibiotics coming out to help fight these super bugs, but before long the bacteria will become resistant to them and your back where you started from."
Bobby Engle, Infection Control Practitioner at the
University Medical Center in says , "The key to preventing the spread of MRSA, especially to other family members, is to seek immediate medical attention, and get a quick and accurate diagnosis." He also stresses the importance of finishing your antibiotics. He says, "Patients often stop taking their antibiotics when they start to feel better and this lets the bug hide out and live to come back stronger. The last pills kill the last bug, and insufficient education of the patient by doctors on how to get rid of CA-MRSA is also contributing to it's spread. " Jackson
Since hospitals are not required by state law to report MRSA and other Super Bug infections the number of people infected or deceased from them or their complications is unknown, but I know there are wide spread deaths from it because of the number of people I know of that have died from it.
After listening to story after story of people infected or hospitalized with MRSA, about babies with sores covering their whole body, and their cries as they are held down at hospitals while MRSA sores are popped, one can only wonder where the Center for Disease Control is in all this.
While hospitals and patients bear some responsibility for preventing the spread of MRSA, ultimately those in our government that are in charge of protecting public health bear the most responsibility.
When AIDS was raising it's ugly head we were all educated about it, yet this is spread more easily than AIDS, and may kill you much quicker, yet we have not heard a world of warning. The question is why?
Could it be because Staph infections and other Super Bugs have been a liability factor for hospitals, and politicians rely on big money from the medical profession and pharmaceutical companies to finance their campaigns?
According to one local attorney "You can find out more information from the Mississippi Department of Health about the greasy spoon down the road than you can about this life threatening disease."
The Mississippi Department of Health and The Centers for Disease Control can be likened to an Ostridge with it's head buried in the sand, it can't see a thing, but a good swift kick in the rear end might make it stand up and take notice. However, Norma Dearman may have a better idea; "Let me go and sit on them with my butt cheek running, and I'll bet they will take it seriously then." Sadly to say, Norma's idea may be the only thing they will pay attention to.
People infected with MRSA are more likely to die from flu complications, and just like the flu the ones it will have the most devestating effect on are the old, the young, and those with weak immune systems.
Call your local representative, your senator, your governor and send them a loud and clear message. We want doctors and hospitals to be required to report all MRSA and other super-bug infections, and we want patients educated on how to prevent it's spread. If they won't do this then maybe it is time to throw the rascals out.