This story, from MercuryNews.com, is the story of Laura Debell, a Santa Clara County Jail inmate, who, during a 2 week stay in the jail in 2005, got a small wound on her leg that let to an internal MRSA infection that traveled throughout her body and set up shop in her spine. A similar story to many we have heard before. This article also goes on to examine the statistics of MRSA in Santa Clara County and the cost to the taxpayers.
Public health officials worry a lot about the little bug with the big name because it is expensive and difficult to cure: A course of treatment can cost up to $30,000 depending on the severity of the infection and the complications it can cause. And when people who contract the infection have no health insurance, like Debell, taxpayers bear the cost.
Last year in Santa Clara County, 3,079 people were diagnosed with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, nearly triple the number of cases in 2005. Local doctors are more aware of MRSA, accounting for part of that increase, local public health officials say. But better diagnosis can’t completely explain the spike in infections.
The picture, however, is much improved in the county jail, where infections rose only 5 percent in 2006 after a startling 17-fold rise the year before, thanks to better treatment and hygiene practices, public health officials say.
Aye yi yi – scary statistics, eh? On a good note, Laura Debell is thankfully recovering well from her infection, although she will have some lifelong residual effects from the infection in her spine. She has more time to serve, and they considered keeping her on a home monitoring program (for which she is eligible), but they are concerned that they won’t be able to keep track of her with all of her medial appointments. They are moving her to another jail – so keep her in your prayers.