Health Ministry seeks legal advice after baby infected with MRSA is taken from hospital

    Tonga’s Ministry of Health has sought legal advice after a baby infected with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) was taken from hospital by his parents.

    The baby was supposed to be admitted to the hospital’s isolation ward, but his parents took him home instead.

    Kaniva News has been unable to confirm claims that the parents wanted to treat the child with traditional Tongan medicine.

    The Ministry sent a public health nurse to the family’s home to advise the parents about the consequences the baby could face if he was not returned to hospital for medical treatment.

    Health Ministry CEO Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola said in cases like this patients left hospital because of a “lack of clear communication.”

    The parents had not returned the baby to the hospital at the time we contacted with Dr ‘Akau’ola.

    Dr ‘Akau’ola said the Ministry kept sending medication with the nurse to the residence to make sure the baby was treated with the right medical treatment. They kept urging the parents to return the baby to hospital.

    Dr ‘Akau’ola said the advice from their lawyer was that the Ministry could return the baby to the hospital under domestic violence and negligence law.

    This means Police would have to obtain a warrant from the court so they could take the baby away from the parents and take him to hospital.

    However, the Ministry had not done this.

    The case came after a 12-year-old boy from Vava’u died on June 30 because he was infected by the MRSA.

    The boy died despite being diagnosed by doctors at the hospital. The boy’s family also gave him Tongan medication.

    What is MRSA? 

    According to Health E New Zealand, MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. The term is used to describe a number of strains of the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, that are resistant to a number of antibiotics, including methicillin.

    What is staphylococcus aureas?

    Staphylococcus aureus is a group of bacteria that live on the surface of people’s skin and inside the nose. It is normally harmless: most people who are carrying it are totally unaware that they have it.

    This group of bacteria can be spread quite easily from person to person through contact.

    Problems occur if Staphyloccocus aureus bacteria are able to enter the body through a cut or wound.

    How is MRSA treated?

    Because MRSA is resistant to a number of different antibiotics, it is harder to treat than nonresistant bacteria.

    However, MRSA is not resistant to every antibiotic and most strains of MRSA can still be treated with vancomycin, teicoplanin and mupirocin.

    For people with weakened immune systems who have become infected with MRSA, the best treatments are with the antibiotics vancomycin or teicoplanin. These two antibiotics are given as injections or through an intravenous drip and so are only given to people in hospital.

    The main points

    • Tonga’s Ministry of Health has sought legal advice after a baby infected with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was taken from hospital by his parents.
    • The baby was supposed to be admitted to the hospital’s isolation ward, but his parents took him home instead.
    • Kaniva News has been unable to confirm claims that the parents wanted to treat the child with traditional Tongan medicine.
    • The Ministry sent a public health nurse to the family’s home to advise the parents about the consequences the baby could face if he was not returned to hospital for medical treatment.

    For more information

    Health authorities concerned after rare MRSA-related pneumonia kills boy (Kaniva News)

    Ministry moves to stop what it says are lies on social media after boy’s MRSA death

    1 COMMENT

    1. Naʻe fekumi e potungāue moʻuí ki ha faleʻi fakalao mei heʻenau loeá hili ʻeni hano ʻave ha pēpē mei Vaiola ka ʻoku maʻu he siemu fakatupu mate ko ia ko e MRSA.

      Taimi tatau ʻoku kei fai e potungāué hono fakakolekole e ongo mātuʻá ke fakafoki ange pēpeé ni ke fakahoko kakato ki ai ʻa e faitoʻó ʻoku fiemaʻú.

      Kuo vaheʻi atu ai ha neesi makehe ke ne faitoʻo pe mo tokangaʻi e pēpeé ʻi honau ʻapí.

      Pehē ʻe talēkita moʻuí Siale ʻAkauʻola ne nau kumi faleʻi ki heʻenau loeá pea ko e faleʻi mei ai ʻe lava ke ō e kau polisí ʻo ʻomai ʻa e pēpeé ki fale mahaki ʻo ngāueʻaki e lao ki he fakamamahi mo hono liʻekina ʻikai tokangaʻi e fānaú ʻi ʻapí.

      Ka ne pehē ʻe ʻAkauʻola ʻoku teʻeki ala ʻa e potungāué ke ngāueʻaki ʻa e polisí.

      ʻOku nau ʻave pe ha neesi ki he ʻapi ʻo e fāmilí ke fakamatalaʻi lelei ki he ongo mātuʻa ʻa e nunuʻa ʻe iku ki ai ʻa e pēpeé ʻo ka ʻikai faitoʻo ʻa e siemu MRSA.

      ʻOku tauhi atu pe ʻe he neesi ko ʻení foki ʻa e faitoʻo ki he pēpeé taimi tatau ʻoku nau fai hono fakakolekole e ongo mātuʻa ke ʻomi e pepeé ki fale mahaki.

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