Birmingham Personal Injury AND Mass Tort Claim Lawyers

Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections in Alabama

When germs enter the bloodstream through central lines, it can cause serious infections, which can result in significant medical setbacks or death.

Throughout Alabama, and elsewhere, people often require medical treatment. This can be for the treatment of acute medical conditions, to monitor ongoing health problems or to provide emergency medical care. However, few people expect to develop worsened medical conditions as the result of hospital, nurse and pharmacy errors or negligence.

Central line-associated blood stream infections, or CLASBIs, are a serious problem in health care facilities of all types. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 30,100 CLASBIs are developed in intensive care units throughout the U.S. every year. These infections generally occur in addition to the medical conditions that patients are being treated for.

What are CLASBIs?

Sometimes, patients may need central lines, or central venous catheters, inserted. Often, these tubes are placed in the arm, chest, groin or neck. Similar to intravenous, or IV, catheters, these lines are generally used to give medications or fluids, as well as to draw blood.

Should bacteria or viruses enter the bloodstream through a central line, CLASBIs are serious infections that can develop. These infections may cause patients to experience fevers and chills, as well as become very ill. When patients develop CLASBIs, the area around their catheter’s insertion site may become sore and red. For people who are already suffering from serious illnesses or medical conditions, these types of infections can result in significant medical setbacks and be considerably more hazardous.

Preventing CLASBIs

CLASBIs are typically the result of substandard care. As such, they are generally considered to be entirely preventable. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, practicing good hand hygiene is the key to preventing CLASBIs. Additionally, there are several other precautions that health care professionals can take to help their patients avoid developing these types of infections, including the following:

  • Keeping insertion sites and central lines dry
  • Using sterile barrier safeguards
  • Immediately removing central lines when they are no longer required
  • Avoid inserting central lines before the skin prep agent is completely dried

By following these, and other recommended precautions and central line maintenance practices, health care providers can help to ensure their patients’ safety.

In addition to the precautions that medical professionals should take, there are also things that patients can do themselves to help avoid developing CLASBIs. Patients should avoid touching central lines, and not allow visitors to touch them. Furthermore, they should pay close attention to their bandages, the insertion site and the surrounding area. If the bandage around a central line becomes dirty or wet, patients should notify their health care provider immediately so it can be changed. Additionally, they should make their medical professional aware if they begin to experience signs or symptoms of CLASBIs.

Consulting with an attorney

For patients in Alabama, contracting a CLASBI can lead to worsened medical conditions. As such, they may require extended recovery times and incur undue expenses. People who have experienced situations such as this may benefit from discussing their situation with an injury attorney at Salter Ferguson. A legal representative may explain their rights and help them to understand their options for pursuing compensation.

Keywords: infection, hospital, negligence, malpractice

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