Hospitals’ MRSA status claims – can they be trusted?

My local hospital boasts a zero infection rate for MRSA. They continued to do so when they had at least one case – me.

I could have picked up the MRSA I was told about today in the hospital in March-April.  I was in for 6 weeks, they tested me on admission (negative), but not on discharge (thus maintaining their zero MRSA record without actually knowing if the claim was  valid or not – this, of course, applied to all patients, not just me).

Then, in August, I was dragged back in, unconscious, and this time tested positive on admission.

That infection could have come from the District Nurses, or from the hospital in March-April where, after being tested, I was in close proximity to a veritable horde of potentially infections people. No way of knowing, but until hospitals start routinely testing patients on discharge the true MRSA status will never be known. Nor, if people come in clean and are discharged infected, will MRSA ever be eradicated. After all, while there in March-April I contracted 5 hospital-acquired respiratory infections, so the possibility of also picking up MRSA isn’t that much of a reach.

The visitors could bring it in – they don’t get tested, not even on a random basis – as could the staff. I have no idea if staff are routinely tested, but I’d certainly hope so. But even if they’re tested every week – unlikely on the grounds of cost and sheer volume – the potential for infecting patients is still high. Which is why I say patients should be tested on discharge if a clear picture of the rate of hospital-acquired MRSA is to be obtained.

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3 thoughts on “Hospitals’ MRSA status claims – can they be trusted?

  1. It used to be. when i had been in Bedford hospital almost 17yrs ago (yes i know,a long time ago and things change…but in this case they shouldn’t have) we werent,as far as i know tested on admission. but we were tested on discharge. they, the nurses, were run off their feet in that surgical Gynea ward. was like a conveyer belt system getting patients to theatre etc. but couldnt fault the nurses. they were lovely when they did whatever was needed. however. to get from that ward, (and i found this rather weird) we had to go through a geriatric ward. no one told us, but when i enquired why the swabs were being taken, just as i was ready to walk out of the place, (they had forgotten till they were handing my discharge notes to me) i was told it was for MRSA which had been found on one or more of the geriatric patients. now whether this was a routine thing anyway, or just because it had been found and we were taken through there to go to n from theatre plus on admission ,discharge, on our way to the smoking room or outside for a breath of fresh air, i dont know. i never did find out what my result was but i assume i was clear. never ever having had that happen since. certainly not on the cardiac ward i was in 6 years ago.

  2. True Ron! I was tested 3 weeks before! the first operation but was not tested on leaving the hospital 3 weeks after the first and second operations. I was admitted as an emergency a couple of months later and they tested me on the ward, but again, not on discharge.
    This year I was tested 5 days before admission, was in for six weeks and then not tested on leaving yet again!
    Whilst in the hospital each time I caught respiratory infections as well as urine infections.
    There are so many infections flying about hospitals that we don’t know the half of it!

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