Infections and Sepsis
Patients living in nursing homes contract approximately 2 million infections a year. Infections are concomitant with high rates of morbidity and mortality, re-hospitalization, longer hospital stays and significant healthcare costs. As such, nursing homes are responsible to develop and implement infection control measures to promote a sanitary and safe environment that helps prevent the transmission of infections. Nursing home patients are often more susceptible to infections than the general population, as most nursing home care for patients of advanced age and in weakened conditions.
While some infections are not preventable, many are caused by negligence of nursing staff to follow proper infection control protocols. In these cases, the nursing home may be culpable for failing to prevent an infection. Common infections in nursing homes that may be caused by medical negligence are:
Osteomyletis: This is an infection of the bone that often is the result of negligent wound care. In the majority of cases, a type of staph bacteria causes the infection. What a facility does not follow proper infection control procedures, such as handwashing, a wound can become compromised and osteomyelitis can occur. Sometimes, osteomyelitis can be treated with intravenous antibiotics, but in severe cases, amputation may be the only way to stop the spread of the infection.
C-diff: This is a bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract that is prevalent in nursing homes. Patients affected by this can have diarrhea, colitis, and inflammation of the large intestine that are difficult to treat. This condition is estimated to kill nearly 14,000 patients each year. Feces infected with C-diff spread when these spores come in contact with food, surfaces, and equipment. These spores can live for months, and a person who touches and ingests them can contract the infection. Shoddy housekeeping, poor food handling practices, and negligent handwashing protocols are often at fault in transmitting C-diff in a nursing facility.
Sepsis: Sepsis is a frequently life-threatening condition triggered by the body’s reaction to an infection. To fight an infection, the body will send chemicals into the bloodstream. When the body responds erratically to these chemicals, it can cause damage multiple organ systems. Sepsis can progress to septic shock, in which the personal blood pressure drops tremendously and the patient is at significant risk of death. Patients who have a pneumonia, urinary tract infection, bacteremia, and infections of the digestive tract are at higher risk of developing sepsis. Nursing staff who fail to monitor vital signs, such as temperature, blood pressure, and respirations may miss the warning signs of sepsis.
Call a Nursing Home Lawyer in PA
If you suspect that your loved one’s infection was the result of nursing home neglect, the facility may be responsible for their pain and suffering. Contact a Pennsylvania nursing home lawyer today to discuss your claim. Speak with one of our skilled nursing home attorneys today. The consultation is free and always confidential.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.