Real Voices interview: Alison
A patient’s experience of MRSA
“Before I went in, I got a letter from the hospital saying it was high up in the anti-MRSA league tables. I thought: ‘Oh good, that’s one thing I don’t need to worry about.’
After the second operation [there were two stages], I was suddenly moved to an isolated cubicle in the High Dependency Unit (HDU), where full isolation procedures were followed. Here, they told me my swab had shown that I had MRSA but said I had nothing to worry about because it was isolated in the bladder, and they had new antibiotics to treat it there.
At this stage I became very ill. An infection in my chest spread to my lungs and I needed oxygen, a chest drain and a tracheotomy to help me breathe. I was also put on a ventilator for a week. I was delirious during my time in HDU – 33 days in all – and remember very little of it. It was like a dream.
When I improved, I was taken from HDU to another isolation ward. When I asked why I wasn’t going back to the open ward, the nurse hesitated slightly, then said I would find it easier to rest in a single cubicle. Again in this ward, they followed isolation procedures. The hygiene was good, but they talked about MRSA very casually.
All in all I was in hospital for nearly ten weeks – although my operations and recovery period should have only taken three. When I left they gave me a letter for the district nurse. It said I’d had MRSA (‘MRSA’ was highlighted in big red letters).
Overall, although care and prevention was excellent, communication was poor. I have no knowledge of the course of the MRSA. No one was ever open or specific about it. Yet they were always very clear and precise about my operations.”