Cayhill- As a public serving hospital the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) acknowledges our responsibility to inform the public with correct information about our institution.
At the SMMC, we treat and manage health conditions to the safety, health and satisfaction of our patients. We also strive to maintain transparency, especially when it relates to patient health and safety.
Hence, we deem it necessary to reassure the public that the Hygiene and Infection Control (HIC) department at the St. Maarten Medical Center is always working diligently to maintain a clean and safe environment for our patients, visitors and staff.
Recently, there are rumors that there are patients with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) at our hospital. These rumors are not true as presently, we do not have any patient in our hospital known to have MRSA.
As any hospital in the world, we are however, at risks for acquiring micro-organisms that are resistant to antibiotics; such as MRSA.
“Staph” is a very common germ that about 1 in every 3 people has on their skin, but sometimes it can cause serious infections such as skin or wound infections, pneumonia, or infections of the blood. Some staph develops resistance, meaning they cannot be treated by antibiotics that the micro-organism is resistant to. MRSA is a type of staph that is resistant to the common penicillin antibiotics.
Persons who are more at risk of getting MRSA are those with weakened immune systems and persons who are hospitalised or are in a nursing home.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 in every 100 persons are colonized with MRSA (carry the micro-organisms without showing signs and symptoms of an illness). On a daily basis this germ does not threaten the individual’s health. It becomes a problem when the person is admitted to a hospital and requires antibiotics and is capable of passing on the germ to other patients.
As a public serving hospital, we cannot turn away patients who have MRSA. For this reason the HIC has a stringent policy concerning the prevention and spread of MRSA. These measures include, placing the affected patient in isolation, reinforcing hand hygiene for both healthcare workers and visitors, wearing of personal protective equipment which includes gowns, gloves and masks when taking care of the MRSA patient.
Antibiotic resistance came about as the result of the frequent use of antibiotics and increased travel also places a role in the transmission of MRSA. Hence it is very important for us to know, if our patients were hospitalised in a foreign hospital no less than 2 months ago so that proper measure can be put in place to prevent the spread of MRSA and other resistant micro-organisms.
Some weeks ago we saw a High Resistant Mirco-Organism (HRMO) on one ward in our hospital. This is a bacteria that Dutch hospitals check for, unlike many hospital in the U.S. and other regions. The Inspectorate of Health was informed and our staff was mobilized to care for our patients and bring them to good health. We acted quickly and efficiently and as a result we no longer have cases of the HRMO.
This is the way we will continue to work, to ensure the safety of our patients.
Currently, at the St. Maarten Medical Center, there are no patients with known cases of MRSA. Nonetheless we, as a hospital, are capable of taking care of any patient with MRSA or other resistant micro-organisms without threatening the safety of our other patients, visitors and staff.
On October 19th, the SMMC will have an Open House. Our HIC department will be present and the public is invited to visit us and learn about how we care for our patient’s safety. The HIC will be able to answer questions and give information about the importance of hygiene in hospitals and also in our homes and what we can do to keep ourselves and families safe.
The public is invited to learn more about our services and how we provide care for our community. Please visit our website at smmc.sx to keep informed about this upcoming event.