Unfortunately, doctor errors and substandard care often occur in New York, and elsewhere. In some cases, this leads to serious medical ailments, including the development of central line-associated bloodstream infections, which may cause patients’ conditions to worsen or become deadly. In fact, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that central line-associated bloodstream infections, or CLASBIs, result in between 10,426 and 25,145 deaths each year. Despite the serious issue posed by these serious infections, however, there are things that health care providers and patients can do to reduce the occurrence of CLASBIs.
A type of bloodstream infection, CLASBIs generally develop due to bacteria or germs entering the bloodstream through central venous catheters. Also known as central lines, central venous catheters are sometimes inserted into the large veins in patients’ necks, groins or chests to collect blood, administer medications or provide patients with fluids.
There are a number of things that medical professionals can do to help ensure their patients do not contract CLASBIs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these include the following:
- Use appropriate hand hygiene practices before inserting, handling or maintaining central lines
- Replace bandages if they become wet, dirty or dislodged
- Employ sterile barrier precautions when inserting central venous catheters
- Avoid using femoral sites for central line placement in adult patients
Additionally, health care providers should check central lines daily. Once they are no longer needed, central venous catheters should be removed. By taking proper precautions, the medical negligence that commonly leads to such infections may be prevented.
Furthermore, there are also steps patients can take to avoid developing CLASBIs. It is important for patients to refrain from touching their central lines as much as they can. Furthermore, they should also ask their visitors not to touch them. It is also advisable for patients to notify their health care providers immediately if their bandages become damp or soiled, or if they experience soreness or notice redness around their catheter insertion site.
As a result of CLASBIs, patients may become very ill and require additional medical treatment, which may lead to undue expenses. Since these infections are preventable, however, the medical professionals responsible may be liable for the resulting damages. Thus, those who have experienced this type of situation may benefit from consulting with an attorney to understand their options for seeking compensation.