Former patient says dermatology office won't release MRSA records

LILBURN, Ga. — A former patient at a Gwinnett County dermatology center that is being investigated for MRSA bacteria cases told Channel 2 she believes she contracted the MRSA while she was a patient there.

"It's been pretty disturbing, period, because you trust the doctor, period," the woman, who asked not to be identified for privacy reasons, told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri.

She said she was a patient at Premiere Dermatology & Surgery from 2005-2010 and originally went to see Dr. Windell Boutte for a scalp irritation.

During treatment she said she developed pain and swelling. After doing research, she asked the doctor to test her for MRSA.

"She gave in and tested me for MRSA and it was positive," she said. The Gwinnett County Health Department is investigating possible MRSA cases at the Lilburn facility. The patient said she thought hers was an isolated case until she saw the Channel 2 Action News report on the investigation.

"After watching your story, I was jarred," she said. "I was concerned because it means there's a problem."

Viteri obtained a copy of an email from the center sent to staff this month saying they recently had two cases back-to-back of MRSA-infected patients and six or so patients infected in the last three months.

The patient said she eventually switched doctors and tried to get her medical records released from the office. She went to the office after calling several times and instead of handing over her paperwork, she said they asked her to leave and called police to remove her from the property when she refused.

"To be cast out into the street and essentially not treated with respect is really disturbing," she added.

She pointed to letters attorneys have sent the doctor asking for the medical records, but said she has yet to receive them. The patient reached out to the Gwinnett County Health Department, which she said will assist her in getting a copy of her records.

She said she is still fighting the infection, which has left permanent scars on her scalp.

The email from the dermatology office instructed each staff member and their families to start treatment with antibiotics and pointed out that MRSA can be found in many crowded environments like schools and hospitals. MRSA is an antibiotic-resistant staph infection.