Consistent effort over time can reduce drug-resistant pathogens such as MRSA, according to at least one study completed over 15 years by French researchers.  The intensive program was aimed at reducing the impact of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on Parisian hospitals, and was reported in Archives of Internal Medicine.  While formerly confined largely to a hospital setting, today MRSA has gone offshore and its potential damages are encompassed under maritime law.

The campaign, started in 1993, included:

  • * Placing patients with MRSA infection or colonization in single-bed rooms whenever possible
    * Barrier precautions for such patients, including disposable gloves, disposable aprons worn for such activities as bed-making, and dedicated equipment (such as stethoscopes) for each patient
    * Promotion of hand hygiene, initially with disinfectant soap and later with alcohol-based hand-rub solutions
    * Active and passive identification of patients with MRSA
    * Feedback on results

By 2007, the program produced a marked reduction in MRSA cases from 41.0% to 26.6% overall and from 45.3% to 24.2% in blood cultures.

The system introduced alcohol-based hand-rubs in 2000 and saw the use of the germ-fighters – a crude marker for hand hygiene compliance – increase overall from two to 21 liters per 1,000 hospital days between 2000 and 2007.

As maritime injury lawyers, we feel that offshore employers should make the same efforts to change the MRSA trend from increasing even further than the present explosion.  Failure to do so can render a vessel unseaworthy.  In close quarters such as those maintained in a maritime employment setting, keeping infected or suspected infected parties more isolated or removing them from the rig or vessel as soon as possible would greatly reduce the risk of the rapid spread of MRSA.  Employees should be required to wear protective gear such as disposable gloves, paper coverings, etc. to prevent their infected body parts from coming into contact with common machinery or even food items.  All offshore vessels and jack-up rigs must be equipped with hand sanitizer gel or hand washing stations to control potential outbreaks among the crewmembers.

We currently handle active MRSA Maritime Exposure Cases and are happy to speak to Jones Act seamen, crewmembers and third-party contractors who are exposed and affected by this.  If you or a loved one has developed an infection caused by MRSA, you may qualify for financial compensation.  Our Maritime Lawyers will evaluate your claims and advise you of your best course of action.  Contact Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers today for a free evaluation of your MRSA infection by completing our contact form on this web site.