Many Hospitals Ineffectively Treating Patients with Bloodstream Infections

A new study by Duke University indicates that hospitals may not be doing enough to treat bloodstream infections properly. This is just one component of a bigger problem — preventing them.

The focus was primarily on community care hospitals, which are what most people use, as opposed to specialized care hospitals (tertiary care). After analyzing approximately 1,500 patients with bloodstream infections in these types of hospitals between 2003 and 2006, it was discovered that 38 percent of hospitals failed to provide the appropriate type of antibiotic therapy.

Researchers from the study suggest that one area of improvement would be electronic records that alert medical personnel of risk factors. For instance, patients with impaired function are at a greater risk of inappropriate antibiotic treatment.

Prevention of Bloodstream Infections

Of course, the necessity of treatment could be avoided in the first place if measures are taken to prevent the development of a bloodstream infection. Many times they are acquired through central lines. Central lines are long catheters used to dispense nutrients or medicine into a vein that leads to the heart. They are used most often in intensive care units.

As opposed to a standard IV, central lines often stay in a patient for weeks or months, and medical personnel might touch them multiple times a day. Each time the central line is touched, there is the possibility that infection could enter the body. Because it is coming through the central line – used for quick disbursement to the organs and bloodstream –the infection can take over the body immediately before the immune system has a chance to begin to fight it.

Sepsis is one of the most feared dangers for central line infections because it kills 50 percent of the people who contract it. The likelihood that a person who has contracted sepsis via a central line system will not have the means to battle the disease is very high.

Bloodstream infections are very dangerous and most often occur through no fault of the victim. If there is evidence that a bloodstream infection or any other type of illness was the result of medical negligence, a lawyer at Gacovino, Lake & Associates can help the family file a claim against the healthcare professionals responsible. Call or fill out our contact form: 800-550-0000.

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