Cooking at the bbq on the grounds of Parkwood Institute, Vito Iacobellis’ eyes light up when he talks about two things; food and his family. For someone of Italian roots Iacobellis says, “the key to a happy life is in the tomato sauce.” Each fall Iacobellis and his wife turn 20 bushels of tomatoes into 300 litres of sauce. This would be a daunting feat for the average home cook but for Iacobellis, a chef by trade, it’s a regular day.
Iacobellis spent 47 years as a chef, 25 of those as head chef at the University of Waterloo. “On an average day my kitchen would put out 9,000 meals.” Since 2015 Iacobellis has been a patient of Parkwood Institute’s Complex Care Program recovering from surgery to amputate his right leg. The amputation was needed due to poor circulation, a common complication of diabetes.
While in hospital Iacobellis contracted Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus also known asMRSA. MRSA is a type of resistant bacteria that does not respond to some commonly used antibiotics. Some people unknowingly carry it on their skin and mucous membranes. Most people with MRSA do not become ill while others with weak immune systems or recovering from surgery can develop life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, the bloodstream, heart and lungs. MRSA can be passed from person-to-person by touching someone who has MRSA or by touching objects that have the bacteria on them.
Iacobellis’ MRSA was discovered through routine screening. To clear his MRSA, staff implemented a standardized treatment protocol developed by Parkwood Institute in 2012. The protocol includes five days of body cleansing with medicated wash cloths, topical antibiotics, daily clothing and linen changes and disinfecting of a patient’s bed and the equipment in their room. “The MRSA Treatment Protocol was developed as part of St. Joseph’s 2012-2013 Quality Improvement plan,” says infection control practitioner Yasmine Chagla. “In the past four years we have reduced hospital acquired MRSA at our organization from 95 cases per year to 35 cases per year. We are always looking to improve our practice.”
In Iacobellis’ case the protocol was successful and cleared him of MRSA. He is now looking to the future with plans to transition from Complex Care to long-term care.