The problem of Central line-associated bloodstream infections in Texas

CLASBIs may develop when germs enter into the bloodstream through central lines, which may cause patients to suffer worsened medical conditions or death.

Often, people in Texas, and across the U.S., seek medical treatment to monitor ongoing health conditions, to treat acute ailments or to deliver emergency medical care. When they go in for such care, patients rarely expect that their condition will worsen or progress into a life-threatening illness. Unfortunately, doctor negligence and errors commonly occur, resulting in serious medical conditions, including central line-associated bloodstream infections.

Central line-associated bloodstream infections, or CLASBIs, are a common issue throughout all types of medical facilities. Each year in intensive care units and other acute care facilities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 30,000 CLASBIs occur. These infections are often developed in addition to the illnesses for which patients had originally sought treatment.

What is a CLASBI?

Sometimes, the care they receive requires people to have central lines, or central venous catheters, inserted. These lines are generally placed in large veins in the neck, chest or groin. Like the more common intravenous catheters, or IVs, central venous catheters are commonly used to administer medications or fluids, or to collect blood.

CLASBIs are a type of serious infection that may develop when bacteria or viruses get into the bloodstream through a central line. These types of infections may cause the area surrounding the catheter's insertion point to redden and become sore. In addition, CLASBIs may cause patients to experience fevers and chills, as well as to become very ill. When patients are already ailing from some types of serious medical conditions, these types of infections may be considerably more dangerous.

How can health care providers prevent CLASBIs?

Typically, CLASBIs are the result of substandard care. As such, they are considered completely preventable. There are numerous steps that health care professionals can take to reduce the risk for CLASBIs. These steps, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, include the following:

  • Washing hands thoroughly before and after touching central lines
  • Using the proper barrier precautions when inserting central lines
  • Avoiding inserting central lines into the femoral vein for adult patients
  • Removing central lines when they are no longer in use

Additionally, it is helpful for medical providers to keep central lines remain clean and dry. Following these, and other recommended safety and maintenance precautions, can help health care professionals to ensure their patients' safety.

How can patients reduce their risk for CLASBIs?

In addition to the precautions that health care providers should take, there are number of things that patients can do themselves to avoid developing CLASBIs. Monitoring their bandages and the area around their central line insertion site can be important for patients. According to the CDC, they should notify their medical provider right away if the area becomes red or sore, or if their bandages become dirty or wet. Furthermore, patients should avoid touching the catheter and tubing as much as they can, and should ask visitors not to touch either as well.

Working with an attorney

When people in Texas develop CLASBIs, they often require additional or extended medical treatment. As a result, they may face undue medical expenses, as well as suffer lost wages while they are recovering. Since CLASBIs are considered preventable, medical professionals may be held responsible for the resulting damages if their patients develop these infections. Therefore, those who have suffered CLASBIs may find it of benefit to seek legal representation. An attorney may help them to understand their options for pursuing financial compensation.