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Staph Infection

tb7108ttb7108 Posts: 35
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I a'm suprised I didnt find more information on this site, I posted my progress from a C6-T1 neck surgury under the Neck Pain forum.

I developed a Staph infection and felt I died another surgery 5 extra days in the Hospital and no opology from the hospital, Has anyone else delt with a Staph after surgery?


  • HI TB7108

  • Yes, infection is a major reason for lawsuits with a hospital. I had surgery this past Jan (2009) at a hospital where my surgeon has been working for at least twenty years. I am having more surgery after the new year and assumed I would be returning to that hospital, which I liked very much. Everything about it was lovely and I really wanted to go back there, and assumed that's where I would be going. But when I recently met with my surgeon, he told me they are having infection problems in the ORs, are NOT doing enough to deal with the problem, and he will not operate there.

    This is a particular issue for patients who are being operated on again for the same or similar spine issue. The risk of infection goes up based on that factor alone. Infection has always been a source of concern in the operating rooms, but it becomes an even bigger factor as hospitals are trying to cut back on expenses and are cutting corners a little here and there. Apparently the cost of extra precautions that are needed is balanced against the statistically small number of people who become infected and when corners are being cut, the small risk becomes too expensive. At least that's what happened at this hospital...I imagine it is the same around the country.

    Obviously if you are the patient who gets the infection, it is completely devastating...and I am very sorry you both went through this. When I asked my surgeon about the risks I was facing with more fusion surgery, he said the biggest problem was infection...and that he will be taking every precaution with me. I will be on oral antibiotics for a week before surgery and will have a special soap and shampoo that I will use for a week prior to surgery...then at the hospital he will do everything in his power to keep me safe in the operating room -- keeping my open for as short a time as possible, etc.

    So infection is something that surgeons think about and worry about...one of the unintended consequences of a trip to the hospital.

    Hope you are both recovering from your bout with it.

  • Yes, I was surprised as he had been instrumental in building up the orthopedic department and the spine clinic...but some new people came in and they couldn't be convinced to take the extra precations to keep patients safe...and this will be my third open back surgery so the odds go up quite a bit for rates of infection.
  • I'm so sorry you two had do deal with infections on top of healing from a major surgery. I had wondered why my surgeon required me to use antibacterial shower gel for a week prior to surgery... now I realize it was to avoid infection.
  • Yes its been a bear....but the good news is I feel better, the pain is gone (reason for having the surgery) and the open wound care machine is doing a nice job. I had a very large open wound so its going to take time but I can start to see the light in the tunnel.

  • after the 2nd surgury to clean the surgical wound, 5 days in the hospital with major antibiotics and then sent home with a 12 day supply of oral antibiotics I started having major pains in my neck and chest, my wound care nurse sent in a swab from the hole in my back (4inches wide, 7 inches long) came back positive with staph. My surgeon ordered a MRI and it confirmed staph has reached my spine, they called it osteomyelitis They are putting in a PICC line tonight with more antibiotics. How can this happen? The staph was treated 14 days after the C7-T1 lamenectomy. The surgeon performed a 2 surgury to debrief or whatever they call it and that mri showed it had not reached the spine.
    I have lost all faith in the medical communty. I'am terrified about information i have found when you google osteomyelitis. I have never been so confused and scared.
    I have been out of work for 6 weeks and I see no light in the tunnel.

  • This is one of our biggest fears, to get an infection and I'm so sorry to hear you are having complications. Unfortunetly the bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics and you have to use stronger one and sometimes combinations of drugs. Did they say it was MRSA?That is a resistant strain of staph. You need to stay positive and maintain a good healthy diet, your body will be using a lot of extra calories to fight the infection...there is always a light at the end of the tunnel,just seems a little dim right now.Good luck will keep you in my prayer. Lynette
  • I am so sorry to hear of your continued infection. I have had an infection after 3 major surgeries. Each time the hosp or phys refuse to say it is staph. But prior to next surgery they test me as mrsa carrier, isn't that odd? And for some reason these indfections show weeks after the surgery. not like 5 days but 5 weeks.

    I now request anitibiotics 10 days prior and 10 days after. And still ended up w an inection on 12/23/09. Furtunately Bactrim seemed to do the trick this time and my incision looks really good. And I feel better, no fever, etc.

    The SUREGONS and HOSPITALS are so afraid of being sued, that I have come to the conclusion that they have lied to me several times concerning my infections. The infection after laminectomy in Aug 06, nearly killed me. PICC lines are no fun and thats after they blow out every IV available vein with Vancomycin(sp). Painful and unbelievably long recovery. I will truly put prayers in for you. I know how much you must be suffering and wish you the best with the line and liq antibiotics again.

  • I'm sorry to hear this infection has happened to you. I know this is so hard on you physically and emotionally to handle and it is scary. I've seen people with long lasting infections and it's a long course on you taking antibiotics and the actual infection plus recovering from back surgery and it can run you down. You could speak with the Dietitian and Pharmacy and homecare while at the hospital to see if there's anything you need to help you. It's encouraging though to hear the MRI report that your spine is clear of the infection. I just wanted to say we're wishing you healing thoughts and I'm going to say a prayer for you also care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hello there. Hate to hear of your infection and of how hard it is on you right now. I can sense your fear and frustration. Wish there were words to make it all better. All I can say is please just remain calm and try to look forward to the future. Days are coming when things will be much better and you will not have to endure things like this each day. There is more life to live and you will get there eventually. Just try to remember that once this is over, you can get back to living how you want to. Try to find beauty and positive things in the small things around you. I know this is hard to do when suffering but sometimes just sitting in the sunshine can help. If you can get someone to sit you by a window and in the sunshine I reccommend it. Just breath deeply and feel the warmth and think of good days to come and what you will do with them. This is not permanent and you can overcome it. Someday you will look back and be grateful and amazed that you were strong enough to survive such a hard blow. I'm sending you good thoughts of renewed strength to get through this, all the way from Texas. Keep telling yourself you can do this and that better times are coming.
  • i had fusion done 03/07/20011 post op felt fine until 4 weeks later. had mri done 8 weeks out with massive amount of either scarring or infection . no doctor seems to want to address including the surgeon
  • Sorry to hear you may have an infection or scar tissue. I would think whoever ordered the MRI would be responsible to let you know if it's an infection at your surgery site. Do you have a fever? Is your incision red and swollen or leaking? I would go get a second opinion from another Surgeon if this surgeon isn't treating you or if you have a temp you should go to an ER for follow up. Either way you need medical assistance. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • To make matters worse, a few years ago Medicare made a decision they would not foot the bill for extra days or extra care that were the result of an infection acquired (called "iatrogenic" infections) from a hospital. Many insurance companies have followed this policy as well. Oddly, most hospitals will not "write off" the cost of this extra care due to infections and actual will bill patients, or come up with other diagnoses to cover the extra days. On my last fusion, the resident doctor told me "we are going to release you (prematurely) because we've been having issues with Staph. on this hospital floor".
    The benefit has been since Medicare made this rule that there has been more education such as teaching staff members how they need to be careful (washing hands & wearing gloves between patients, cleaning stethoscope with alcohol between patients, nurses not allowed to wear long fingernails which harbor more bacteria, and periodic nasal swabs of all staff members to check for Staph carrier states).
  • My aunt recently had a stroke, was in hospital for a week and then transferred to an inpatient rehab. unit in another hospital. She developed MRSA and was moved into isolation. During my first opportunity to speak with the doctor, he didn't mince words. He said she caught it at the hospital and then said: "Don't you know? Hospitals are dangerous places."

    I was stunned that he came right out and stated the hospital was responsible for her infection, without me even implying that was the case. I can only assume that this has become so common that it no longer is grounds for a lawsuit.

    Later, one of the nurses said she imagined that most of them were carriers, as they were exposed to staph all the time.
  • I'm sorry to hear that you are having to deal with the extra problem of an infection on top of trying to heal from a major surgery. I also got an infection after back surgery, but I was fortunate that mine was not staph, but that didn't make it any less painful physically and emotionally. Of course I didn't get any acknowledgement that I got it from the hospital either, but then again , we all sign those papers before surgery, that basically say's we don't hold them responsible for things like that. I certainly wish you a full recovery, and definately hope you don't end up with the permanent problems that I ended up with.
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