A MRSA outbreak remained undisclosed for 9 months at UC Irvine Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. None of the 10 infants that contracted the infection died, and the infections have been effectively treated. However, the root cause and source of the MRSA outbreak remains a mystery, which is not unusual for HAI’s. Recall the mold outbreak in Pittsburgh, PA at UPMC. The outbreak killed 5 transplant patients, and forced a federal shutdown in 2015 of the facility. The hospital system immediately attempted to fix the problem, without a handle on root cause of the contamination. They spent large sums of cash on facility improvements. However, the source of the mold has remained a mystery; although in January 2017, a report emerged suggesting that the outbreak was tied to the laundry service.
Face it, humans worry and care deeply about fellow humans who fall ill in the U.S.A. That is why healthcare is such a major political issue. It’s natural to expect that an unexpected mortality, in a hospital, insights major reactive tendencies among staff, stake holders, and the community. That is human nature. However, attempting to hammer nails in the dark is futile. Likewise, blindly reacting to microbial contamination in the built-environment is a costly endeavor that is more “feel good” than source mitigating. The reactive approach needs redirection that shines light on the microbial contamination, then we can hammer away with confidence. Otherwise we swing and miss over and over, and waste precious capital, and human resources in the process.