Central line associated bloodstream infections pose unnecessary risks to patients

Woman praying for sick man

When patients receive treatment at hospitals, they are often not aware of the challenges many of these facilities are currently facing in regards to infection control. Poor hand washing and other sanitation practices continue to run rampant in many hospitals around the nation and infection is the byproduct of that problem. An Illinois medical malpractice lawyer often sees many kinds of infection-related cases each year, one of which is the central line associated bloodstream infection, or CLABSI.

What is a CLABSI?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a CLABSI is an infection in the site where a central line is placed. A central line is a tube that doctors insert into a large vein in the groin, neck, arm or chest in order to administer important medicines and nutrients to very ill patients. If central lines are not properly cleaned and monitored at all times, dangerous infections can develop and allow bacteria and viruses or other microscopic organisms to directly enter the bloodstream.

What are the risks associated with the condition?

When a CLABSI occurs and microorganisms begin to enter the blood, it can create a deadly situation for patients. The microorganisms and the toxins they produce trigger an immune response that is designed to eliminate the foreign bodies, but instead it slowly kills the patient in a condition known as sepsis. When sepsis sets in, the immune response causes widespread inflammation throughout the body and damage to vital organs can occur. As the condition progresses, it can cause a severe drop in blood pressure and eventual death.

Potential outcomes

An Illinois medical malpractice lawyer understands the effects that a CLABSI can have on a patient. While the risk to patients may be smaller for mild sepsis, when organ damage occurs it can leave a person with life-long disabilities and impairments if they survive the ordeal. If the brain is kept from receiving oxygen for an extended period of time then affected areas may be permanently damaged. If the kidneys were affected, patients may be forced to receive dialysis for the rest of their lives. Any organ or system could be impaired, causing severe, life-long damage that patients must endure.

Prevalence

According to the National Institute of Health, more than one million people are diagnosed with sepsis every year in the U.S. and the numbers continue to rise annually. Of these individuals, between 28 and 50 percent die as a result of the condition. Those who have been injured, or who have lost loved ones to a medical error that resulted in a CLABSI may have the ability to be compensated for their injuries. Therefore it may be a good idea to meet with an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer to discuss what their legal rights and options are.