Monday, October 29, 2007


(MAYWOOD) October 29, 2007 - Loyola University Medical Center will begin an aggressive screening program to detect methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as MRSA, for every planned admission to the hospital.

“This is, quite simply, the right thing to do. It is an important component of our overall plan to improve patient safety in all aspects of care,” said Dr. Paul Whelton, president and CEO of Loyola University Health System.

The screening program has already been implemented in Loyola’s intensive care units and screening will be extended in November to all patients entering the hospital. The testing will involve DNA analysis of a nasal swab sample at the time of admission. Results are returned within two hours.

MRSA is a strain of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics that are commonly used to treat staphylococcal infections. Most MRSA infections occur in hospitals and in other healthcare settings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC). Officials at the CDC estimate that 79,000 people get MRSA infections from healthcare facilities each year. Some of the infections can be life-threatening, especially those that occur in patients with surgical incisions or weakened immune systems.

“As an academic medical center with an overriding emphasis on patient safety, we feel that it’s our responsibility to lead the way with this initiative. New reports from the medical literature have found that MRSA is a greater threat than had previously been thought. We see this as a worthwhile investment in improving safety for our patients,” said Whelton.

Since 2005, Loyola has been piloting several initiatives to reduce MRSA. Active screening and surveillance have been used successfully in the neonatal unit and in the intensive care unit. The decision to move to universal hospital screening grew out of the significant reduction in infection seen in these two areas.

Concern about MRSA is growing nationwide, but was recently heightened by an Oct. 17 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which found that the infections have become more widespread and are not confined to healthcare settings. Several schools in the Chicago area have been closed temporarily when students were found to have the infection.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.