"My husband had back surgery last July 1, and three weeks later his incision started draining," says Karen (real name withheld). "The doctors opened the wound again and drained the staph infection for a week before he was able to come home. They gave him antibiotics and a pic line [peripherally inserted central catheter]. He was on the pic line for six weeks, but just two days after it was removed, he developed a fever.
"That was on September 28. We have been back and forth to the hospital ever since, trying to fight this infection.
"The doctors have changed his medication a few times but nothing seems to work. He had to get the incision opened and drained a second time at the same hospital. We aren't going back to that hospital.
"This course of antibiotics runs out on January 12 and then he will have to go back to the Oklahoma Spine Center to try and figure out what is going on. He has pain in his hip and they don't know whether it is due to the infection or not.
"This staph infection has become a nightmare. During his first time in hospital, right after the surgery, there were three other people on the same floor at the same time—their incisions had been opened up and the infection drained, just like him. I don't think it is just this hospital, it is rampant nationwide.
"Interestingly, the first time the doctors opened him up, they cultured one of the screws and it came back positive for staph. One of the doctors I talked with told me that this hardware should have been removed when they knew he was infected with the staph.
"I would hate for someone else to have to go through this. It makes me wonder if the medical devices are at fault—if they haven't been properly sterilized before getting to the hospital—or if the medical staff are doing so many surgeries that they don't have time to properly clean up. I don't know where staph and MRSA infections come from but I do know that my husband is very sick. He has lost about 80 pounds since the surgery. And these antibiotics really mess up the natural flora in your stomach, so he is also dealing with that.
READ MORE HOSPITAL INFECTION LEGAL NEWS
"I'm angry—this should never have happened. I asked the doctor if it was anything we did and he said an emphatic NO. But he didn't blame it on the hospital either.
"I wish there was a place to go online to see ratings of hospitals to see how many infections they have reported. Hospitals just tell you about their great facilities and good doctors, and not a word about hospital infections. "
Some states, such as RID for New York, have online sites that post lists of safe hospitals. Unfortunately, there is still no public reporting of specific hospital infection rates for individual hospitals.