Increasing concern is being expressed by patients and family members about contracting various diseases and infections upon entering Waterford Regional Hospital. In fact there have been over 10,000 patients in Ireland who have contracted MRSA after having been in Irish hospitals. MRSA is one of the super bugs, which is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics and other drugs used to treat diseases.
The lack of basic hygiene appears to be the culprit, which is increasing the risk of patients upon entry to Irish hospitals for routine surgery and other treatment for various illnesses. Basic hygiene included hand washing after contact with each patient and disposal of surgical scrubs before heading off to the wards to complete rounds appears to be the main cause of this ongoing problem.
So many people have now contracted MRSA, that they are now planning to take legal action against the hospital and the government. The firm Brian Lynch & Associates is representing approximately 200 cases, which they are preparing with more being added every day. While they are researching and adding more cases, the firm is currently awaiting the results of an initial case. This case by a Kilkenny women is expected to be settled in court sometime next year and will set the standard for the more than 200 cases that the firm is currently working on. The current claim is thought to be for €3m.
While the Department of Health introduced guidelines for all hospitals to follow 10 years ago, it appears that these guidelines are not being followed on a routine basis. In fact a national hygiene audit placed Waterford Regional Hospital and several other Irish hospitals at the bottom of the list in 2005.
Considering the steps that were taken when the country was concerned about Foot and Mouth disease were we had to walk through disinfecting mats and wash our hands routinely when we visited the hospital, MRSA is considered a disgrace by many health care professionals.
Among the steps that are being considered to control and reduce the risk of infection, doctors and other health care professionals should thoroughly wash their hands after visiting every patient, remove surgical scrubs prior to leaving the surgery area, avoid wearing surgical scrubs outside the hospital in public, limit the number of visitors to each patient, reduce the visiting times for each patient, and eliminate the concept of hotbedding. Hotbedding is the concept of having a new patient in a bed that was occupied by another patient less than 10 minutes previously.
The legal firm of Brian Lynch & Associates hopes that the planned lawsuits will get the attention of the state and obtain compensation for some patients who have contracted MRSA while in Irish hospitals.