SOURCE: Patient Comfort Systems

Patient Comfort Systems

August 11, 2009 09:05 ET

MRI Expert Says Medical Malpractice Companies Concerned Over Lack of Infection Control in MRI

HAYWARD, CA--(Marketwire - August 11, 2009) - Peter Rothschild, M.D., renowned radiologist and infection control authority, applauds medical malpractice insurance company CNA's Alert Bulletin, titled, "MRSA Alert: MRI Infection Creates New 'Superbug' Concerns." The Alert Bulletin is available at http://www.patientcomfortsystems.com/PR/CNAAlert_Bulletin_AB09_Issue_4.pdf.

CNA is the 7th largest U.S. commercial insurer and provides insurance protection to more than one million businesses and professionals.

The Bulletin discusses Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) infections and the death of 15-year-old Nile Moss from MRSA after he underwent an MRI. The report states, "In 2006, 15-year-old Nile Moss underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as an outpatient in a southern California hospital. Subsequently, he developed a high fever and pneumonia caused by Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria. The "Superbug" infection, apparently contracted from contaminated MRI equipment, did not respond to treatment, and Nile Moss died one day after being re-admitted to the hospital," according to the Bulletin. "One out of five patients who develops an invasive MRSA infection dies."

The Bulletin discusses the high cost of treating antibiotic resistant infections and notes that "These expenses are often borne by the hospital, as recent Medicare regulations prohibit reimbursement for costs related to preventable facility-acquired conditions."

The article further refers to infection control procedures developed by Rothschild, who is an MRI expert and author of the landmark paper, "Preventing Infection in MRI: Best Practices for Infection Control in and Around MRI."

Steps discussed within the Bulletin include thorough hand washing and sanitizing between patients, cleaning the imaging tables between uses, disinfecting pads and positioners after each patient, inspecting pad seams and surfaces periodically with a magnifying glass, checking pad material frequently with an ultraviolet light to identify possible bacterial contamination, and replacing old pads. The CNA Alert Bulletin further states, "Dr. Rothschild's work serves as a useful reminder that drug-resistant microbes may propagate in tabletops and other exposed surfaces in healthcare providers' offices. To reduce MRSA-related risks, all patient contact areas must be disinfected after each encounter."

The Bulletin admonishes health care providers to use both basic prevention strategies and advanced environmental hygiene measures to stop the spread of this deadly organism. The Bulletin concludes, "In order to protect patients, comply with new state laws and minimize liability exposure, healthcare administrators should make reducing the incidence of MRSA a high priority."

Dr. Rothschild applauds CNA for being proactive and advises MRI facilities: "There has been a tremendous interest among malpractice companies and law firms triggered by the death of Nile Moss ten days after undergoing an MRI. Lawyers are now advertising for patients who believe they contracted MRSA from their MRI exams. Unfortunately, the MRI community has been slow in infection control procedures for their MRIs, and more concerning is that many MRI experts do not believe this is a serious problem. All of these factors combined with the heightened lawsuits surrounding MRSA in general, led CNA to issue an alert that was sent to each of their MRI facilities. I hope this serves as a wake up call for MRI centers to take infection control seriously."

Educating the public

To request a copy of Dr. Rothschild's white papers, "Preventing Infections in MRI: Best Practices for Infection Control in and Around MRI," and "Infection Control in the MRI Environment: Lack of Infection Control Procedures in MRI May Place Patients and Staff at Risk," please contact Doug Kohl, Sierra Communications, (209) 586-5887, or dkohl@mlode.com.

About Peter Rothschild, MD

Dr. Peter Rothschild is considered one of the world's foremost MRI experts. Dr. Rothschild authored the groundbreaking paper, "Infection Control in MRI" published in Aunt Minnie, a web portal for Radiology. He formerly served as Medical Director of the research laboratory at the University of California at San Francisco, where he helped develop the first commercially available Open MRI scanner. He is the editor of the first textbook on Open MRI, authored numerous papers on the subject and is a sought after speaker who lectures on MRI and its future. Dr. Rothschild is a Board Certified Radiologist and served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Radiology at the University of California at San Francisco. He earned his MD degree in 1981 from the University of Louisville, in Louisville, Kentucky. He is founder and president of Patient Comfort Systems, a company dedicated to patient comfort and safety.

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