The Osteo Relief Institute, a medical clinic specializing in knee pain in Wall Township, was shut down by state health officials on March 7 but was back in operation two weeks later. Thirty-eight patients were infected by injections, reports NJ.com. This instance is just a small part of hundreds of thousands of infections patients suffer when they obtain medical care across the country.
Monmouth County Health Department officials found that employees weren’t properly washing their hands and allowed full needles to sit “well before” they were used on patients. After a re-inspection, the clinic re-opened. The state confirmed 38 reported cases of infections due to injections but an investigation continues.
The problem of infections caused by health care providers is well known and widespread. Results of the HAI (Hospital Acquired Infections) Prevalence Survey were published in 2014, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It reports that an estimated 722,000 infections occurred in U.S. acute care hospitals and about 75,000 patients with HAI’s died during their hospitalizations in 2011.
As the Osteo Relief case shows, the problem isn’t limited to hospitals. The CDC also states that in the past ten years more than thirty outbreaks of hepatitis B and C in non-hospital healthcare settings occurred in outpatient clinics, dialysis centers and long-term care facilities.
Often infections can spread between medical facilities. Patients infected in hospitals may be transferred to rehabilitation facilities or nursing homes where infections spread to other patients and residents. Infections in skilled nursing facilities can make their way to hospitals if an infected resident is transferred to a hospital.
While many infections can be dealt with effectively, infections occurring during medical treatment are increasingly becoming more difficult to treat. CBS News reports that the CDC estimates that one in seven catheter- and surgery-related infections are caused by one of six antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and “nightmare bacteria” carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). These are infections that are resistant to standard antibiotic treatments. Long-term acute care hospitals treating very ill patients see a quarter of their catheter- and surgery-related infections being drug resistant.
The CDC has asked all doctors and healthcare providers to get involved in preventing hospital-acquired infections by taking steps to stop the spread of bacteria between patients, preventing infections related to surgery or catheter placement, and responsible use of antibiotics. Actions include:
- Isolating patients when necessary
- Better awareness of patterns of antibiotic-resistant infections in facilities
- Following recommendations for preventing post-surgical, central line (a catheter inserted into a vein that delivers medication) and catheter infections
- Proper prescription of antibiotics to avoid their overuse.
Many times these infections, which could be fatal, are caused by healthcare personnel who are sloppy and not following well-known precautions. This kind of negligence may be the basis of a lawsuit seeking compensation for the injuries or deaths suffered due to these preventable infections.
If you believe that you or a family member has been injured because of negligence by a medical professional in New Jersey, schedule a free consultation with our office by calling us at (973) 358-6134 or by using our online quick connect form. Contact us so you can learn about your legal rights and take action to protect your ability to seek compensation.