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Do you work in the healthcare industry in a medical facility such as a hospital, nursing home, or dialysis center? Or do you work as a home health aide? If so, you are almost certainly familiar with staph infections and MRSA. But did you know—that because you are a healthcare worker with a higher risk of getting MRSA or a staph infection—that you may be entitled to a workers compensation claim if you are infected and need medical care? That would cover all of your medical bills (no co-pays), pay you for your time off work and we could get you a settlement when you are better. Let’s take a look at this in depth.
What is a staph infection?
There are different varieties of Staphylococcus (staph) aureus bacteria. Staph bacteria are typically on the skin or in the nose of about a third of the population. The bacteria are pretty much harmless unless they enter the body through a wound or cut. Even in that case, the staph bacteria usually cause relatively minor skin problems in healthy people.
Staph skin infections often start with swollen, painful red bumps that resemble pimples or spider bites. The area might be warm to the touch or full of pus. The infection may also cause a fever. The red bumps can quickly become deep boils, or abscesses, that are very painful and need surgical draining.
Sometimes the staph bacteria remain in the skin. However, they can burrow deep into the body and cause life-threatening infections in the bones, joints, heart, lungs, and bloodstream. If the bacteria enter a person’s bloodstream, an infection that impacts the entire body—called sepsis—may develop and lead to septic shock. One’s blood pressure drops to an alarmingly low level.
What is MRSA?
A methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by a type of staph bacteria that has become resistant to methicillin and related antibiotics (such as penicillin) that are prescribed to treat ordinary staph infections. Most MRSA infections occur in people who have been in hospitals or other healthcare settings, but it also happens a lot in gyms. It’s a really tough infection to get rid of and can cause very serious, long term injuries.
Treatment of Staph and MRSA Infections
These infections are typically treated with antibiotics and cleaning of the infected area. If the staph infection does not respond to common antibiotics, antibiotics that cause more side effects may need to be prescribed. If the bacteria have entered the bloodstream, bones, joints, heart, or lungs, more intense medical intervention will be needed. In the worst case scenario, these infections can lead to sepsis and either amputations or death.
Staph/MRSA, Health Care Workers, and Workers Compensation
It is a simple fact that healthcare workers are at a greater risk of contracting a staph or MRSA infection. Therefore, if someone contracts an infection while on the job and needs medical care and possibly compensation for time off of work, that person should file a workers compensation claim with their employer.
We have helped literally thousands of nurses, CNA’s, home health aides, RN’s and other medical professionals in their Illinois work comp cases. If you’d like a free consultation with an attorney, contact us any time.