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St. Maarten Medical Center: No known cases of MSRA virus at hospital


CAY HILL–St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) said on Wednesday, that the recent “rumours” that patients have contracted the Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) virus are untrue.  The medical institution said, however, that some weeks ago it saw a High Resistant Micro-Organism (HRMO) on one ward in the hospital. This is bacteria that Dutch hospitals check for unlike many hospitals in the United States and other regions.

“The Inspectorate of Health was informed and our staff were mobilised to care for our patients and bring them to good health. We acted quickly and efficiently and as a result we no longer have cases of the HRMO,” SMMC said in a press release last night. “This is the way we will continue to work, to ensure the safety of our patients currently at the St. Maarten Medical Center.”

As a public serving hospital, SMMC said it acknowledges its responsibility to inform the public with correct information about the institution. “At the SMMC, we treat and manage health conditions to the safety, health and satisfaction of our patients. We also strive to maintain transparency, especially when it relates to patient health and safety. Hence, we deem it necessary to reassure the public that the Hygiene and Infection Control (HIC) department at the St. Maarten Medical Center is always working diligently to maintain a clean and safe environment for our patients, visitors and staff.

“Recently, there were rumours that there are patients with Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) at our hospital. These rumours are not true as presently we do not have any patient in our hospital known to have MRSA.” SMMC said as with any hospital in the world, it is at risks for acquiring micro-organisms that are resistant to antibiotics; such as MRSA. It said staph is a very common germ that about one in every three people has on their skin, but sometimes it can cause serious infections such as skin or wound infections, pneumonia or infections of the blood.

Some staph develops resistance, meaning they cannot be treated by antibiotics that the microorganism is resistant to. MRSA is a type of staph that is resistant to the common penicillin antibiotics.  Persons who are more at risk of getting MRSA are those with weakened immune systems and persons who are hospitalised or are in a nursing home.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, two in every 100 persons are colonised with MRSA (carry the micro-organisms without showing signs and symptoms of an illness).

On a daily basis this germ does not threaten the individual’s health, SMMC said. It becomes a problem when the person is admitted to a hospital and requires antibiotics and is capable of passing the germ on to other patients.  “As a public serving hospital, we cannot turn away patients who have MRSA. For this reason the HIC has a stringent policy concerning the prevention and spread of MRSA. These measures include placing the affected patient in isolation, reinforcing hand hygiene for both healthcare workers and visitors, wearing of personal protective equipment which includes gowns, gloves and masks when taking care of the MRSA patient.”

Antibiotic resistance came about as the result of the frequent use of antibiotics, and increased travel also places a role in the transmission of MRSA, SMMC said. “Hence it is very important for us to know, if our patients were hospitalised in a foreign hospital no less than two months ago so that proper measure can be put in place to prevent the spread of MRSA and other resistant micro-organisms.”

SMMC reiterated that “there are no patients with known cases of MRSA. Nonetheless we, as a hospital, are capable of taking care of any patient with MRSA or other resistant micro-organisms without threatening the safety of our other patients, visitors and staff.”

On October 19, SMMC will host an Open House. The HIC Department will be present and the public is invited to the hospital to learn about how the institution “cares for our patient’s safety.” The HIC will be able to answer questions and give information about the importance of hygiene in hospitals and also in homes, and what can be done to keep individuals and their families safe.  The public is also urged to keep informed about the Open House and visit SMMC’s website:

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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