Jeff Triplett said looking back he wishes he knew more before his mother chose to visit St. John Medical Center.
“I wish I would have been a better and more informed advocate when this started,” he said. “I would have done everything in my power to convince my parents to go elsewhere.”
Jeff Triplett said he was taught growing up to respect institutions like hospitals. He didn’t ever see the need to question a medical doctor.
But Doris Peter with Consumer Reports says patients shouldn’t be afraid to speak up.
MRSA spreads through direct contact. One of the most effective ways to prevent its spread is something children are taught in pre-school: wash your hands.
“The first thing you think of is hand hygiene,” Peter said. “If there is improper hand hygiene from staff then you’re going to be passing it from one person to another and it’s going to spread throughout the hospital.”
Peter said that patients and visitors should not be afraid to ask a doctor or nurse if they’ve washed their hands when entering and leaving a room.
St. John Medical Center has instituted World Health Organization guidelines for hand hygiene since the investigation. They require care providers to wash their hands at five separate points during their work: before touching a patient, before cleaning, after exposure to bodily fluid, after touching a patient and after touching patient surroundings.
“I can’t believe we’re still talking about (hand hygiene) but that is still a big problem in hospitals,” Peter said.
“This is something that is a concern in hospital all over the country,” Kirman said. “MRSA is not going away.”
The CDC says the MRSA infections in hospitals can be largely prevented by following safety guidelines. In addition to hand washing, guidelines include carefully cleaning hospital rooms, isolating MRSA patients in their own rooms and wearing gloves and gowns during care.
Visitors may also be asked to wear gloves and gowns with MRSA patients.
If you or a family member were recently treated in a hospital, the CDC recommends taking several steps to help prevent infections such as MRSA:
- Wash your hands and body regularly
- Keep wounds clean and covered until they have healed
- Avoid sharing personal items, such as razors and towels
If you think you or someone in your family might have MRSA or other infection, the CDC recommends covering the area with a bandage, washing your hands and calling a doctor. The agency says that it is especially important to call a doctor if the patient has a fever.
CDC information for MRSA patients
KGW viewer Jeff Triplett contacted our investigative team concerned about his mother's experience at a Longview hospital. That led our team to look into the MRSA rate for that hospital, which was the worst in Washington in 2015. Our report uncovered the state and federal probes into the issue, and what the hospital has been doing in recent years to address this issue.Have a tip for the KGW News investigative team? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org