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MRSA in surgical wound
Started by Lulu
Posted: July 18, 2006 at 06:10
I was a healthy 46 yr old female when I underwent a double mastectomy with free-TRAM reconstruction (tissue taken from abdomen) in Sept05. Since then, I have had MRSA 3 times in my abdominal wound and have required an additional 4 surgeries (last was Jun06) and 5 hospitalizations. (I also had multiple blood clots in both lungs and in one leg, but that's a story for another forum.) My 1st MRSA infection was treated with a month of IV Vancomycin and oral Levaquin, followed by another month of oral Minocycline. I was treated prophylactically in Jan06 with IV Vancomycin and IV Invanz for 2 weeks after my 3rd surgery. Within a week of finishing these drugs, I showed signs of re-infection - increased pain & redness at surgical site and fever. My ID doc decided to treat me with oral Zyvox for a month. I quickly felt better, but that drug really wrecked havoc on my blood counts. I ended up back in the hospital needing a bone marrow biopsy as it was thought that my bone marrow was damaged. My blood issues seem to have resolved since I stopped the drug. I developed a cellulitis about 10 days after my 4th surgery on May 15, 06 - you guessed it - MRSA again! This time was treated another month with Vancomycin and oral Cipro, followed by 3 weeks of Septra DS. I'm very concerned because tomorrow is my final day of antibiotics. Am cautiously optimistic that I may have finally "licked" this nasty infection, but wonder how long before I can "relax" and really be in the clear. My ID doc says that more than 90% of cases should be in the clear after about 3 months, but there are certainly no absolutes. He also didn't think that I would have a recurrence and I've had 2. If the MRSA comes back again, I will likely be faced with another 1-2 surgeries, and then am afraid that I'll be on a neverending rollercoaster. I'm a nurse who has not worked in the clinical setting for at least 9 years, and I was told that I already "had" it on my skin by the ID doc. I truly believe, though, that this is a hospital acquired infection.

I would love to hear from anyone with similar experiences after surgery.
Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #1 by Mina
Posted: July 18, 2006 at 07:41
I didn't even have surgery, I just picked the bug up on my skin in the hospital and began to get lesions and boils. It seems the medical community would like us to believe that we had this on our skin prior to medical/ hospital care, but this stuff is out of control in hospitals world wide.

I'm not convinced I did not pick it up in the hospital, although the hospital denied that happened. Of course. It seems they had a letter that they just printed up that some just signed off on.

Too bad that during my hospital tour and orientation before giving birth that no one ever mentioned anything about how out-of-control and common, HA infections are, superbugs for that matter. Maybe if some of us knew, we would plan for alternative care, rather than enter the hospital, and allow our families to visit us there, putting them at risk for this stupid superbug. Such a shame. If the hospitals were held with more accountability, these infections would probably decrease dramatically, but no, they are not, and so long live the nonsocomial infection, and more power to it. >:-<
I hope you get better. There was a person on here that had a non healing wound on their chest from surgery for many, many months. He posted a thread on his recovery and what was done for him that worked. If you look further back on previous pages you may find it. If I come across it, I will post the link to it, for you.

Take care...Mina. That person's name was Frank
Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #2 by E.T.Gascoigne
Posted: July 18, 2006 at 10:26
Everybody is covered with Staphyloccus Aureus : it keeps us alive. However, when it gets into places where it shoudn't it causes havoc. Those places are open wounds and includes boils and similar infections. MRSA stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus but it should be Penicillin Resistant S.A. because methicillin is a derivative of penicillin. There are innumerable strains of all bacteria which we have attacked remorselessly over the past sixty years. The result is we have more or less eliminated all the strains susceptible to antibiotics leaving only those we can't kill. So please don't accuse the hospitals of negligence, they are doing the best they can.
But think about this: MRSA is world wide danger and if somebody can find a way of combatting it effectively then they will make a fortune. You can bet they're trying right now!!
By the way, I was a victim of a resistant strain of Salmonella over fifty years ago but nobody took any notice of it in those days. The theory was that somebody would come up with a new antibiotic that would kill it.
Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #3 by ladyk
Posted: July 18, 2006 at 12:47
[E.T.Gascoigne "So please don't accuse the hospitals of negligence, they are doing the best they can."]



YOU STATE..."But think about this: MRSA is world wide danger and if somebody can find a way of combatting it effectively then they will make a fortune. You can bet they're trying right now!!"

You are far from the mark my friend. It's not about fortunes. It's about saving lives.

Hospital Infections - Drug Resistant Bacteria

Each year over 1.7 million Americans will get a drug-resistant infection from a hospital and 100,000 of them will die. In the United States, more people die from hospital infections than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Thousands of other victims of hospital infections escape death but are left with serious life altering injuries including paralysis. Disturbingly most of these infections can be prevented through the implementation of stricter sanitary and bacterial testing procedures.

Shocking Hospital Infection Statistics

• 2 million patients get health care associated infections each year
• 100,000 deaths from health care/hospital infections each year
• $30 billion spent to treat health care/hospital infections each year

Hospital infections are commonly drug resistant and lethal. The bacteria in these infections replicate and mutate so aggressively that even the most potent antibiotics can not kill them. The most common strains of lethal bacteria found in hospital patients are detailed below:

Methicllin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) – This strain of lethal staphylococcus or staph is responsible for approximately 120,000 hospital infections per year. Patients can die within days of being infected.

Psedomonas aeruginosa – This deadly strain of bacteria causes lower respiratory infections. It is responsible for 18% of hospital acquired pneumonia and is incredibly resistant to antibiotics.

Klebsiella pneumoniae – Lethal hospital-borne bug that infects the urinary tract, bloodstream and gut. Reported cases are up 50% in the last five years and there is a 66% mortality rate in untreated patients.

Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) – Responsible for 10% of all hospital infections. Bacteria usually infects the blood, urinary tract and wounds. Patients with compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible to infection.

Clostridium difficile – Linked to 400,000 cases of severe diarrhea each year. New mutation of this bacteria produces 20 times the toxin of the old version. Infection is often fatal.

Drug Resistant Staph Bacteria a Global Problem
Jun 21, 2006 | Miranda Hitti | WebMD
A drug-resistant form of the bacteria that causes staph, Staphylococcus aureus, has been rapidly spreading worldwide and might become an even bigger problem in the future, researchers report online in The Lancet.

The drug-resistant bug can cause infections in various parts of the body. While most aren’t serious, some can be life-threatening.

Millions around the world are already infected with the drug-resistant strain, which is spread by contact with infected people or contaminated objects. Those with weak immune systems and living in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care centers are most vulnerable.

The scientists behind the Lancet report have been studying methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), named for the antibiotic methicillin. They include Hajo Grundmann, MD, of the Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology in the Netherlands.

The researchers call for countries to step up their MRSA surveillance and prevention efforts, especially in hospitals, saying infections have been “swiftly increasing worldwide over the past decades.” If certain strains of MRSA take root in communities, “the MRSA situation in hospitals, which still remains out of control in many countries, could potentially become explosive,” Grundmann and his colleagues warn.

About MRSA

Staph itself is a very common and often harmless infection. Only a small fraction of those with staph have the drug-resistant kind.

“Of the expected 2 billion individuals carrying S. aureus worldwide, conservative estimates based on either Dutch or U.S. prevalence figures would predict that between 2 million and 53 million carry MRSA,” write Grundmann and colleagues.

But MRSA’s resistance to antibiotics can make it a serious, difficult-to-treat, problem.

The bacteria was discovered in 1961 and is now resistant to the antibiotics methicillin, amoxicillin, penicillin, and oxacillin. While it doesn’t resist all drug treatments, it’s been quick to adapt to new ones.

MRSA infections are most common among people with weak immune systems living in health care centers. Infections can appear around surgical wounds or invasive devices, such as catheters or implanted feeding tubes.

But MRSA has also shown up in healthy people who haven’t been hospitalized, in what is called community-acquired MRSA.

Community-acquired MRSA is relatively rare. If it becomes common, it could worsen hospitals’ MRSA situation, Grundmann’s team predicts.

“MRSA is at present the most commonly identified antibiotic-resistant pathogen in many parts of the world, including Europe, the Americas, North Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia,” write Grundmann and colleagues.

Since countries don’t monitor MRSA, Grundmann’s team made their own global estimate, coming up with the 2 million to 53 million figure.

MRSA Symptoms

Symptoms depend on the part of the body affected.

MRSA most often appears as a skin infection, like a boil or abscess. It also might infect a surgical wound. In either case, the area would be swollen, red, painful and filled with pus.

Many people with a staph skin infection mistake it for a spider bite.

Staph that infects the lungs and causes pneumonia can lead to shortness of breath and fever chills

MRSA can cause a myriad of other symptoms since it can also infect the urinary tract or the bloodstream.

Very rarely, staph can result in necrotizing fasciitis, or "flesh-eating" bacterial infections. These are serious skin infections that spread very quickly. While frightening, necrotizing fasciitis caused by staph is rare, with only a handful of reported cases.

Prevent MRSA Infection

To prevent MRSA infection, the CDC’s recommends the following:
Wash your hands. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It’s important to wash thoroughly. Experts suggest you wash your hands for as long as it takes to recite the alphabet.
Cover cuts and scrapes with a clean bandage. This will help the wound heal as well as prevent the spread of bacteria to other people.
Do not touch other people's wounds or bandages.
Do not share personal items such as towels or razors. If you use shared gym equipment, wipe it down before and after you exercise.
Drying clothes, sheets, and towels in a dryer, rather than letting them air dry, also helps kill bacteria.

Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #4 by Linda
Posted: July 18, 2006 at 15:19
I too contracted MRSA after starting breast reconstruction using tissue expanders. I was working in a nursing home in the kitchen as a dietart aide for dinner shift and went to work following a drs visit in which after starting filling of the expanders, they had trouble locating the valve on the left side and made a 1/2 in incision tko locate, place, ald fill on that side. I had unknowingly compromised myself as we had 3 residents with active MRSA being brought down to the dining room for me to take care of. 2 days later I had cellulitus with fevers of 102, nausea and severe fatique. I eventually quit work last july, and have had 5 surgeries since 4-7-05 thru 2-13-06. I am left with nothing, as I got all the way thru to placing the permenant implants on 1-24-06 only to have to remove them on 2-13-06 due to infection of the incisions and the implants pertruding from the body. They left me with gaping wholes the size of softballs in my chest and told me that even if I waited a year or 2 that the probability would be high that all this would start over again, so the only thing I was able to do was be fitted for prosthetics. I'm having a real hard time dealing with this as I'm only 50 and this was not what I had in mind when I started all this.
Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #5 by Mina
Posted: July 18, 2006 at 19:12
"Everybody is covered with Staphyloccus Aureus : it keeps us alive. However, when it gets into places where it shoudn't it causes havoc. Those places are open wounds and includes boils and similar infections. "

Yes, I know everyone is covered in Staph, but it's this mutated monster bug MRSA, that has developed ways to allow itself to infect people without even needing an open wound. All you have to do is get some of these strains on your skin and if given the chance it will infect. I did not have a "wound" infection, the bug got on my skin and started infecting all on it's own. It started with an itch, then small pimples that grew, then resulting in boils, and I know a handful of people that this has happened to as well. This is no normal bug! And I beg to differ that hospitals are doing all they can. All they have to do is start washing their hands more like they are supposed to and infection rates would decrease dramatically!! This is noted by experts over and over. Of course good handwashing would not eliminate this bug, but it would make a difference.
Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #6 by ladyk
Posted: July 19, 2006
Also, in addition to washing hands by all, protecting ourselves and others, MRSA wouldn't be so advanced in it's spread if the medical community would learn to accurately diagnose MRSA vs every other thing thought of. And the uneducated doctors need to stop doing unnecessary surgical treatments for their misdiagnosis. Not to mention multitudes of antibiotics need to stop be given to patients by uneducated doctors who are misdiagnosing MRSA which in itself is compounding the entire situation.

This issue of MRSA needs to be in the forefront of the medical community's mind. Culture every skin spot, take appropriate action according to lab cultures. Otherwise those infected/carrying MRSA will continue to spread, and spread, and spread, until we are more compromised than we are now.

Get this: Just this afternoon, the day before I go to see the Infectious Disease Specialist, I turn on the TV and who do you think I saw? My new ID specialist along with a local Public Health Department doctor, and an Infectious Control RN!!! All together in a televised conference. They were being bombarded with every question we all ask here. My jaw dropped. I'm anxiously looking forward to seeing him tomorrow.
Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #7 by nyker
Posted: July 20, 2006 at 06:04
While we're on the topic of "hospitals doing all they can to control MRSA..." I just want to scream everytime I get a quick bite to eat at a resteraunt near a local hospital and the line is filled with resident doctors and nurses, donning staph stained scrubs.

They were those outfits like a badge of honor---don't they know that the clothing is likely to have staph, even mrsa on it and they are carrying it out into the community?

My friend lived in Paris, and according to her, all hospital staff must take a shower and remove their scrubs (change into other clothes) before they leave the premises in order to prevent the spread of bacteria, etc. I know that some hospitals in Britain prohibit doctors from wearing ties while visiting patients because the ties can transfer mrsa.

That's my two cents for the evening. Let's get well and stay well!
Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #8 by Mina
Posted: July 24, 2006 at 18:24
Hi Nyker. We have a lot of freedoms here in the US, and since the hospitals are government run in the UK, they have more authority over hospitals and the staff. Truth is not only do they wear their scrubs out in public, and I cringe everytime I see it too, but they don't even shower before going out in public. And, they are taking the bugs home to their families too, along with exposing all the rest of us out there simply pushing a shopping cart around. I'm sorry, but when I see someone out in public with scrubs on, I move as far away from them as possible. And if they notice that, well, too bad!

The public is often blamed for bringing in harmful illnesses into the hospitals, but what about these people that where scrubs everywhere? They are taking bugs back and forth between the hospital and the community. It's so ridiculous!
Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #9 by Sandi
Posted: July 24, 2006 at 19:00
I got HA MRSA after ankle replacement surgery two years ago. Since then I have had three reoccurances. Zyvox, Daptomycin, do not work on me only Vanco. I now have my ankle fused with an external fixator,because metal attracts MRSA. If this does not work I will loose my leg. This disease plays havoc on your white blood count, so you catch everything anyone has. It is a costly deadly disease. Sandi
Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #10 by kay
Posted: June 29, 2011 at 05:04
My mother just recently had surgery done to her lower back,four of her lower disc were surgicaly worked on"fixed" 1 week out of the hospitol she starts noticing fluid pouch on her lower back next to surgery..well she went for her first "2pm"check up and told her surgerion about it and he looks at it and says..oh thats just fluid build up thats sometimes normal for certain patience you're fine i will percribe you a cream for it..well later on the night i end up having to rush my mother to the hospitol with 102fever "11pm the same day" the emergency DR looked at it put pressure on the wound and puss came out he said she was infected..long story short they transported her to the hospitol who performed surgery and 5days later her test came back positive for mrsa and now will be on antibiotics for the rest of her life the Dr told her..and told us that my mother could have gottin the infection anywhere not just from the my question isthe infection was on her wound from the surgery,doesnt that show proof that the surgion was not sterile during his percedor? and can she take it to legal matters like a lawyer , because obviously the Dr didnt do his job right? I mean they had to put her back into surgery to scrape the bacteria and clean it out? come on realy?
Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #11 by Patti
Posted: June 13, 2012 at 18:40
I too have had MRSA...I had 4 surgies trying to put in a morphine pump. The first 2 something went wrong with the pump, they sayed that they fixed it at the 3rd surgery. Well on the 2nd week after the 3rd surgery I really got sick. I went back to the doctor and because I lost my insurance he told me to go to a hospital emergency room. Well my daughter took me and the hospital would not treat me because they did not do the surgery. It was a big battle, and very painful. Well I finally got he doctor that performed the surgies to take care of the situation. I ended up in the hospital for 10 days. I lost 3 days of my life. Ended up with MRSA on the front and back of my body. I had to take antibodies for 6 months, had to have a pump on the sites so it could pump the infection out of my body. It was 4 months I had to carry that pump around...Yea me!!! It was one of the most painful things to go thru. I got the MRSA on third surgery, but it is so hard to prove. Now when I get a sore it takes 3 to 4 months to clear up, and it leaves a red spot where the sore was, like it really nevers heal right. I have been told once you have MRSA you will always have it. Well the way my body heals. I am a firm believer of that. It is a nasty disease. I have a nasty scar on my belly and on my back down my spine. Wash your hands and nails as often as you can. This helps about 90% so you dont get MRSA. Keep it covered , especially around children. I live with my daughter, and 4 grand kids. I am so scared that they my get it..prayers for them. The only antibiotics that really work are the strongest you can get. Everybody have caution where ever you go..deadly disease..YOU BET!!!!
Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #12 by Bob Anderson
Posted: June 13, 2012 at 22:49
Patti -

You might want to read some of the garlic posts in this forum. If one is not allergic to garlic it can be used in some ways to kill MRSA and MRSA cannot become resistant to garlic because it kills in a more direct way than antibiotics which depend on being able to bond with receptors. The allicin in garlic penetrates directly into the bacteria causing them to swell up and burst, killing them. They cannot become resistant o that anymore than you or I could become immune to being stabbed or blown up.

You might consider reading some of the garlic posts in this forum and see if you think any of this might apply to you.

First, do no harm, water down garlic and do not apply crushed raw garlic directly to tissue as it can burn. For most people, garlic applied in particular ways is that miracle medicine written about above but it has two disadvantages; it stinks and it's cheap. The patient and friends and family must tolerate garlic odor for a little while and it's cheap so the patient can't brag about how much they paid for their medicine.

Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #13 by Linda Willoughby
Posted: June 27, 2012 at 18:38
My husband had spinal stenosis 4 years ago and had surgery with titanium plate and screws. a few days after being discharged home he started with symptoms of an infection at the surgical site (MRSA. He developed sepsis, was taken in to emergency surgery ad was on Vancomycin IV for 6 weeks, followed by Bactrim for one year. 5 days ago he started having drainage from the surgical scar. It's MRSA. He's had the culture, started on Bactrim, had an MRI snf now we are waiting for an appointmnt with the neurosurgeon. I am expecting that they will have to remove the plate and screws and opt for another remedy. I am a registered nurse and it even shocks me that this recurred after 4 years.
Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #14 by Gracy
Posted: October 9, 2012 at 06:44
I had a tubal ligation done 2 weeks Ago...they did it laproscopically and my
incision sight looks HORRIBLE. I went to Er today and they put me on bactrim. im
scared...i have 5 small kids. isnt it contagious?

Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #15 by ladyk
Posted: October 10, 2012 at 15:59
Gracy -

Yes, MRSA is contagious. Arm yourself with as much information as you can gather, as this will help protect you and your family best.

It is of the utmost importance that you seek an Infectious Disease specialist to follow your case and aggressively treat this infection! MRSA does not isolate itself to surface infections and can rapidly spiral out of control.

Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #16 by concerned
Posted: November 18, 2012 at 20:23
my husband has contracted MRSA only nine days of having surgery on the L4, L5 disc in his back too push his nerves back in, I had him sent too the e.r. on thursday they sent him home not knowing what type of infection it was, Friday i had too had him rushed back too the hospital because it had gotting worse, on 11/18/12 we find out he has MRSA, AND THEY HAVE TOO GO BACK IN AND CUT IT OUT. DO YOU THINK I HAVE LAWSUIT?
Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #17 by Charlotte
Posted: July 16, 2017 at 20:42
I had a colostomy for about ten months and was
diagnosed as a mrsa carrier. "You get it just by
going to the hospital," my favorite doc said.

Then 15 months ago I had reversal surgery which left
a big hole in my abdomen, sutured of course, that
never fully closed.

My surgeon released me after 6 weeks while I'm
saying "something's not right! My scar is leaking!"
I went to my regular Dr and he ordered a catscan.

The catscan found an incisional hernia which is hard
for a surgeon to accept but she repaired it and
again my stoma wound opened only this time the whole
inch and a half slit was opened with pus dripping

I went to ER and the staff called the on-call doc in
the surgeons office or I never would have been
diagnosed with mrsa.

It turns out that my pre-op lab tests before
takedown showed I went from carrier to actively
infected. I had stoma repair surgery in between and
hernia repair after, and did not know I had mrsa.

The reversal was an arbitrary date. I could have
prevented getting infected if I had taken measures
beforehand. I know she saw those lab tests prior to

It took ten months to get diagnosed and start on
bactrim. I live with my 90 year old mother and
didn't take any precautions during that time,
washing our clothes together and all. Then I felt
like a pariah scrubbing everywhere with bleach not
sure where I'd touched.

I'm on my 3rd breakout since then. This time I
didn't have the red puffiness or get a fever so I
hope I'm on my way.

What good did it do this doctor to hold off testing
me? She couldn't have thought it would go away and
she knows I'm very verbal and I wouldn't go away

I hear hospital administrators dictate to the docs
how to handle these cases while they are hiring
cheap, uneducated labor to clean our hospital room.
Its all so stupid.

In pre-op they told us to make sure our nurses
changed their gloves in our rooms. Then they issued
antibacterial wipes to use at home for my whole body
instead of disinfecting at the hospital.

I am barely well from having to shit in a bag, I was
comatose in intensive care for 10 days when my bowel
ruptured because my kidneys shut down entirely from
sepsis but I pulled through! Just to have this life
threatening infection that I could give to my
family? My young grandkids as well as my mom. Yet I
don't know if it can be cured.

In the meantime, I need to get full dentures but
can't find a dentist who'll accept me. I have to get
periodic EKGs at the hospital because I have a right
branch block but I can't go in. Also, I hope it's
just my imagination but it sounds like my guts are
full of slush! It's almost funny but yet not.

The surgeon says there will be no retest because it
will still be positive so how can she release me
for these other facilities?

I'm coming up on 65 in two months and have to sign
up for MediCare. Sure hope I'll be able to get a
doctor who'll accept me on a new HMO!

Re: MRSA in surgical wound
Reply #18 by Cindy
Posted: April 24, 2018 at 20:27
I had surgery and after the surgery I had a low grade fever. They
sent me home and was to see the Doctor in 4 weeks. My incision
started leaking very badly. I was using a pad to collect all the
drainage. Had to change it 3-4 times a day. I called the Doctor
and talked to his nurse and told her what was going on. They had
me come in. The doctor checked it out and gave me an antibiotic. I
went home and about a week after that when I would take the pad
off it ran out of the incision down my legs onto the floor. I had
to put a towel down. So I called again and they told me to come
back. He did a culture and it was MRSA. The incision was not
closing. I had to pack it with this bleach solution from the
pharmacy three times a day. This started in Feb and finally
cleared up in August and my incision closed with lot of prayer.
The visiting nurses was not wearing any protection and I said
something. They said as long as that wound is bandaged and we wash
our hands we will not get it. They said we could get MRSA at
Walmart. People that have MRSA and do not bandage the would well,
or wash there hands is where you can get it. I was worried about
my husband, he would take those towels and carry them down stairs
to wash them, he never got it cause he washed his hands. Dr. told
me the same thing as long as you have the wound covered well and
wash your hands people can's get it. My grandchildren came no one
ever contacted it from me. This has been three years now and
praise God it has not come back. Sometime that wound is very
painful and get concerned its back. But so far so good. People
need to do more research to find out there are ways to prevent it
from spreading. Two simple things washing hands and sealing to
wound up so it does not leak. Hope this helps.

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