Keep it Clean! Osteomyelitis

By Roberta Palmer, RN and Patty Kunze, BSN, RNC

OSTEOMYELITIS…. we hear this term frequently in our spinal cord injury community but do we know what it really means? Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone, a rare but serious condition. Bones can become infected in a number of ways: Infection in one part of the body may spread through the bloodstream into the bone, or an open fracture or surgery may expose the bone to infection. Stay with us now, this is a short article. Down and dirty, quick information.


Usually a bacterium caused staph aureus causes osteomyelitis. Staph is a common bacterium that may live on skin or in the noses of some but it doesn’t cause an infection. When staph minds it’s own business on the skin, life is good. But when a wound is open bacteria can enter and wreak havoc. There are several strains of staph. You will hear the term MRSA, which is Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus, meaning that form of staph doesn’t respond to Methicillin antibiotics. That’s why we have to be so careful with our skin and our skin tears or sores. They can allow staph to enter, and then we have a problem. Also, be aware that certain conditions that weaken the body’s immune system can increase a person's risk for osteomyelitis. This includes people with diabetes. (So keep an eye on those feet!)

Ketrina Hazell: An Advocate for Self Advocacy

My name is Ketrina Hazell and I am 24 years old, I have a disability called Cerebral Palsy. I was diagnosed at 9 months old but that never stopped me from dreaming big as I grew up, despite the hopeless future that the doctors and professionals expected for me.

I believe that it's time for the educational and health care systems as well as businesses etc., to see the potential of people with disabilities, even from a seated position and hire us. I would like to become a certified teacher's assistant and I plan on starting my own nonprofit organization. Hopefully with the assistance of the program, Access VR (Vocational Rehabilitation), I will be able to achieve my goals.

During my time in college, I majored in both liberal arts, disability studies and behavioral mental health. I have had two years of college and am not yet finished. (Note that if this not happen, it does not mean my success story ends.) I started back to college this fall and I am taking courses in human services since I would also like to become a certified peer advocate.

As well as advocating for myself, I graduated from Partners in Policymaking in 2014 which certifies me to advocate for people with developmental disabilities and their families. I am a proud alumna of Youth Power which is an organization that encourages youth as well as families, to become advocates and for the families to encourage their youth to use their voices.