In 2011, about 650,000 people across the United States developed infections after being admitted into hospitals. Of the 650,000, 75,000 patients died as a result. About 5% of those deaths were due to infections from central lines, a direct IV to a person’s larger veins during an emergency. Since patients with such IVs are already in delicate conditions, an infection is very often fatal-especially if it is from a drug resistant bug that is becoming more and more common. Central line infections are also very expensive to treat, averaging over $45,000 per patient. Consumer Report places Texas at the middle for the national target for avoiding central line infections, with Louisiana being the worst and Hawaii being the best.
Some of the more problematic hospitals are the urban area ones with larger populations, large teaching hospitals, and specialty hospitals that deal with more complex and severe cases. Smaller hospitals are not immune to the trend with Consumer Reports showing a number of them also failing to meet target levels of care.
Steps have been taken to reduce these fatal infections, such as the provisions in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, where any hospitals with inadequate care would have their Medicare payments reduced. That step and others like it have already shown a steady decline, with central line infections decreasing by half between 2008 through 2014. Hospitals have also started using checklists when dealing with central line IVs, which is believed to play the largest role in preventing avoidable infections.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of medical malpractice, contact an experienced attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884.