Central Line Infections are Deadlier Than Malaria or Typhoid Fever

Although central line-associated bloodstream infections can be prevented, thousands of patients still contract one every year.

When patients in Illinois receive care at a hospital, a central line, also referred to as a central venous catheter, is sometimes placed in a large vein in their neck, groin or chest to collect blood for testing or to have medications distributed throughout their body. When germs enter the bloodstream through the central line and a central line-associated blood stream infection develops, affected patients my experience severe pain and suffering and even die from the effects of the infection.

According to Forbes, Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections (CLABSIs) kill an estimated one out of every five patients who contract one. Additionally, Forbes notes that in 2013, these infections affected more than 10,000 adults and 1,700 children, making these infections more fatal than diseases like malaria and typhoid fever.

Simple actions can prevent Central Line Infections

Although CLABSIs affect a large number of hospital patients every year, there are steps medical providers can take to prevent them from developing. According to the CDC, before inserting a central line, healthcare providers should:

  • Thoroughly wash their hands
  • Ensure the skin preparation agent applied to the patient's skin has dried all the way
  • Put on a sterile gown, sterile gloves, a cap, a mask and a large sterile drape to wear during the insertion process

Once the central line is in place, medical professionals should wash their hands every time they handle it and remove the line from the body of the patient as soon as it is no longer needed. By instituting practices like these at 103 hospitals in Michigan, the average intensive care unit was able to reduce its CLABSI rate to zero within an 18-month period, states Forbes.

Why are many still infected?

One reason why CLABSIs may still threaten the lives of thousands of hospital patients every year due to medical negligence is because these infections cannot be transmitted through the air like Ebola or by coming into contact with the bodily fluids of another person like the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, states Forbes. As a result, medical professionals may feel like they are maintaining a satisfactory level of infection control while they are inadvertently using relaxed standards when providing care to their patients.

Those who survive after contracting a CLABSI in an Illinois hospital may require additional medical care and be unable to go back to school, work or the activities of their daily life for an extended period of time. If you experienced financial and physical harm after contracting an infection in a hospital setting, speak with an attorney in your area to find out what compensation may be available to you.

Keywords: hospital, infection, injury