Most Common Hospital Infections in Kentucky

by | Apr 27, 2022 | Injuries, Medical Malpractice

Generally, people go to hospitals because they are sick or injured, and they expect to recover from their illness or injury. However, many people get worse instead of better. Roughly one in twenty hospital patients develop a serious infection during their stays. These infections almost always increase the length of stay and the complexity of treatment. That means higher medical bills. Additionally, in many cases, infections are serious or even life-threatening.

Usually, hospital infections are not “accidents.” Instead, negligence, or a lack of care, is the culprit. That’s especially true since the duty of care is so high in these cases. Doctors have little margin for error. Specific infection causes often include failure to review the patient’s medical history, failure to use the proper kind of medication, and failure to immediately intervene at the first sign of trouble.

If medical negligence caused a hospital infection or any other injury, a Lexington personal injury attorney can obtain compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are usually available in these cases as well. However, medical negligence cases are quite complex, so this money isn’t easy to obtain.

Bloodstream Infections

BSIs included the dreaded septic infections. Basically, the body’s immune system overreacts to a relatively mild infection and it releases toxic chemicals into the bloodstream. The resulting inflammation usually damages internal organs, including the heart, lung, kidney, and other vital organs.

Common BSI triggers include misplaced or unsanitary IV lines or urinary catheters, and unattended surgical wounds or bed sores.Certain patients, including pregnant women, old people, young people, and anyone with a compromised immune system, are especially vulnerable to these infections.

Initial sepsis symptoms are rather difficult to spot. Furthermore, once this infection sets in, it quickly accelerates. So, medical teams who are caught flat-footed often have a very hard time dealing with these infections. BSIs have the largest fatality rate of any hospital infection.

Pneumonia

Roughly these same groups are vulnerable to pneumonia infections. Inflamed air scas in the lungs cause symptoms like coughing, chills, fever, and trouble breathing. There are basically two kinds of pneumonia associated with medical negligence:

  • Hospital Acquired: VAP (ventilator associated pneumonia) is the most common kind of hospital-acquired pneumonia. VAP is especially serious because the bacteria is often resistant to many antibiotics and, if the patient is on a ventilator, the patient is already seriously ill.
  • Healthcare Acquired: This bacterial infection occurs in people who live in long-term care facilities or who receive care in outpatient clinics, such as kidney dialysis centers. Like hospital-acquired pneumonia, health care-acquired pneumonia is often caused by bacteria that are more resistant to antibiotics.

Possible pneumonia complications include bacteremia (bacteria in the bloodstream), pleural effusion (fluid buildup around the lungs), and lung abscesses.

Urinary Tract Infection

Women are at much higher risk for UTIs than men. These infections are often serious or fatal if, as often happens, the infection spreads from the bladder (urinary tract) to the kidney. 

UTIs are especially common after a difficult labor and delivery or complex abdominal surgery. The body’s anti-infection defenses are weaker in the bladder than almost anywhere else. As a result, a slightly compromised environment, such as a dirty scalpel used during a crash C-section, could cause infection. Initial UTI symptoms include trouble urinating and pelvic pain. Unfortunately for patients, these symptoms are common in these situations. Therefore, many medical teams don’t spot UTIs until they reach an advanced stage.

Making matters worse, UTIs are normally post-surgical infections. Many medical teams believe they are out of the woods once patients get to a recovery room. So, they let down their guard and complications like UTIs often go unnoticed, at least at first.

Surgical Site Infections

The previous infections could happen to any hospital patient at any time. SSIs are normally unique to injury-related patients. By their very nature, hospitals are unsanitary environments. There are sick people everywhere and microscopic bacteria could be lurking anywhere. No matter how well doctors treat open wounds, these people are very vulnerable to infection, since the protective skin layer has been stripped away.

Occasionally, a dangerous or defective product causes a hospital infection. SSIs and the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket are a good illustration. This blanket includes a vacuum pump that duckes air from near the floor, heats it, and uses it to warm a blanket. A warm blanket in a cold hospital is a welcome feeling. But the air near the floor is usually dirtier than the other air in a room. And, this dirty air collects near an open wound. The results are often disastrous.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. Virtual, home, hospital, and after-hours visits are available.