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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Cars, Hearts and HAIs

In the story I’m sharing today, one may wonder how cars, hearts and HAIs go together.  In fact when Rob, our Director of Production shared his family’s story I did what I often do when writing a blog – I started Googling.

Rob’s story goes like this.  “In 1996 my father-in-law was in Lewiston, New York and got in a car accident. While sitting in the back of a police car, he had a heart attack and thankfully paramedics who happened to be at the scene of another accident about a mile down the road were able to bring him back to life.  Unfortunately, while in the hospital in New York he contracted MRSA.  After being flown back to Canada, he was put in an isolation ward for 3 months, this is 3 months of wearing gowns, gloves and masks every day we went to see him….  In the end after a quadruple bi-pass you couldn’t slow him down, at least for another 12 years or so…”

Did you know that stress-induced cardiomyopathy is not uncommon?  In fact, it’s known as Takotsubo Syndrome and according to research it’s a temporary and sudden weakening of heart muscles, often triggered by emotional stress or constant anxiety. The sudden emotional stress can cause abnormal contractions of heart muscles and while contractions usually disappeared one to four weeks after the “stress that caused them,” they can sometimes persist which can lead to more serious complications and even death.  If you’ve ever been in a car crash, without a doubt it can put you on an emotional roller-coaster that depending on the severity can take weeks, months or even years for a victim to emotionally recover from the accident.

As Rob mentioned, his father-in-law contracted MRSA while in the hospital.  MRSA is usually spread by direct contact with an infected wound or from contaminated hands, usually those of healthcare providers.  From a risk of contracting MRSA there are 3 key factors; being hospitalized, having an invasive medical device, and residing in a long-term care facility.  Considering Rob’s father-in-law had 2 of the 3 risk factors since he was in a hospital with a weakened immune system and he had intravenous lines and urinary catheters, he was the perfect host for MRSA to travel directly into his body. 

The ending of Rob’s story is a happy one.  Certainly, it was a long road back to recovery, but his father-in-law was able to recover from the ordeal, and I hope like every good father-in-law he gave Rob a hard time for the next decade of his life!

Bugging Off!


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