How Negligent Catheter Use Can Lead to Life-Threatening Infections
There is an expectation that residents of nursing homes will develop different medical conditions that come with age, but other health issues may be the result of negligence by health care providers at the facility. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the biggest problems in long-term care facilities is urinary tract infections (UTI) – accounting for up to 20 percent of all infections. Though there are multiple risk factors for UTIs, many are associated with improper catheter use. Catheter-associated UTI can lead to various complications, the most serious being septic shock.
If a loved one developed a UTI or other infection as a resident of an assisted living facility, it may be up to you to take action on his or her behalf. Your first priority should be consulting with a Florida sepsis and septic shock lawyer, who can assist with alerting proper authorities and advise you on your legal options. Some background information may be useful as an overview.
Catheter Use in Florida Nursing Homes: Catheters are widely used in hospitals in post-surgery scenarios and bladder dysfunction, but they tend to be implemented for longer periods of time in assisted living facilities. For this reason, they’re often called indwelling catheters. A resident may require this device if he or she:
- Has limited mobility to reach the bathroom;
- Needs fluid intake and output carefully measured due to an underlying medical condition;
- Is terminally ill or bedridden.
Under the circumstances, staff must comply with proper procedures for initial catheterization and frequent, thorough cleaning. They should also regularly follow up to monitor complications and address signs of infection, especially for sepsis. It’s worth noting that a catheter should never be used for the convenience of the nursing home.
Infections Caused by Improper Catheter Usage: Without proper cleaning, changing, and monitoring, infection can develop from improper catheter usage. As mentioned above, one complication is catheter-associated UTI (CAUTI). Others include kidney infection, bladder inflammation, and bloodstream infections.
However, one of the most serious, potentially life-threatening complications from catheter-related infections is sepsis. It occurs when the human body reacts abnormally to infection in an attempt to fight it. A person may eventually go into septic shock as a result, which involves extremely low blood pressure, fever, and difficulty breathing.
Link Between Negligence and Sepsis from Catheter Infection: When an individual develops sepsis or other infection from improper catheter protocol, the underlying cause is often linked to negligence by the facility. Examples include:
- Failure to train personnel;
- Not enforcing policies regarding catheter insertion and cleaning; and,
- Failing to recognize the signs of sepsis and treat it promptly.
Discuss Your Claim with a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney
To learn more about your legal remedies when a loved one suffered harm due to improper catheter use, catheter-associated, UTI, sepsis or septic shock, please contact Freidin Brown, P.A. to speak with a Miami medical malpractice lawyer. We can schedule a no-cost case evaluation at our offices to review your circumstances and determine a strategy for moving forward.