Cincinnati Medical Malpractice Lawyer and Hospital Negligence Attorney review cases of preventable urinary and vascular catheter infection

Of all the Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) acquired in U.S hospitals, about 75 percent are associated with a urinary catheter—a tube inserted into the bladder through the urethra to drain urine in patients.

Catheters should only be used for appropriate indications and should be removed as soon as possible. Too often, healthcare providers neglect basic hospital infection prevention guidelines, which may result in serious injuries.

Hospital and nursing negligence in Ohio has been a concerning issue in the recent past, with preventable surgical errors and preventable mistakes hitting all-time highs. When basic protocols are ignored or improper training at hospitals leads to injury, both medical staff and management can be held liable for damages that result from urinary or vascular catheter infection.

Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) result in thousands of injuries and deaths each year and catheter-associated UTIs cost patients and the American healthcare system billions.

Joe Lyon is highly-rated Cincinnati Medical Malpractice Lawyer and Ohio Hospital Negligence Attorney reviewing cases of catheter infection for injured plaintiffs nationwide.

What is a Central Line or Vascular Catheter Infection?

As opposed the more frequent urinary catheter infections (UTIs), a central line or central venous catheter infection results when central lines are not properly changed or maintained. Central lines are different from IVs because central lines access major veins close to the heart and can remain in place for weeks or months, and can be more likely to cause serious infection.

A central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) is a serious infection that occurs when bacteria or viruses enter the bloodstream through the central line. Healthcare providers must follow a strict protocol when inserting the line to make sure the line remains sterile. Infection control practices are critical each time the line or dressing is changed.

Types of Vascular Catheter Infection

  • Coagulase-negative staphylococci
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Stenotrophomonas
  • Pseudomonas
  • Enterococci
  • Candida
  • Staphylococci

Catheter-Associated UTI

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in the urinary system, which includes the bladder and the kidneys. When bacteria and germs are introduced to the system in a hospital setting, a serious infection can occur. The blunt truth is patients with urinary catheters have a much higher chance of developing a urinary tract infection than people who don’t have a catheter.

Bacteria can travel along a catheter and cause infection in the bladder and kidney. Bacteria may enter the urinary tract when the catheter is being put in or while the catheter remains in the bladder. A urinary catheter is a thin tube placed in the bladder to drain urine, and is commonly used if:

  • A patient is not able to urinate on their own
  • Physicians want to measure the amount of urine made during a period of time
  • A patient is undergoing some type of surgery
  • Doctors order tests of the kidneys and bladder

Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms

Typical symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:

  • Burning or pain in lower abdomen
  • Fever
  • Cloudy or Bloody urine
  • Burning during urination
  • An increase in the frequency of urination after catheter is removed
  • Strong urine odor
  • Urine leakage around catheter
  • Pain or discomfort in lower back
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Vomiting

Catheter Infection Prevention

Prevention and prompt treatment of a CAUTI are essential because an untreated UTI can lead to a more serious kidney infection, and elder patients with catheters may already have conditions that compromise immune systems, making them more vulnerable to future infections.

Healthcare providers and nurses should follow recommended central line insertion and CLABSI prevention practices to prevent infection, which can include:

  • Careful hand hygiene
  • Applying skin antiseptic
  • Ensure skin prep agent dries before inserting central line
  • Use sterile gloves, sterile gown, cap, mask
  • Remove central line as soon as it is no longer needed
  • Choose the best insertion site to minimize infections
  • Prepare the insertion site with alcohol
  • Immediately replace dressings that are wet or soiled
  • Perform routine dressing changes

Hospital UTI Lawsuits

A catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is one of the more common infections a person can contract in a hospital setting, according to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

It is estimated that between 15 and 25 percent of hospitalized patients receive urinary catheters during their hospital stay, and risk a catheter-associated UTI (CAUTI) by prolonged use of the device.

Healthcare facilities and hospitals have a duty to educate healthcare personnel about indications for central lines, proper procedures for insertion and maintenance, and infection prevention.

Hospitals may be liable if they fail to properly train employees, provide a checklist to clinicians to ensure adherence to safe practice, reeducate personnel at regular intervals about central line insertion, ensure efficient access to supplies for central line insertion and maintenance, and use measures to ensure compliance with recommended practices.

If you or a loved one suffered from a urinary or vascular catheter infection, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.