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Hospitals and the Threat of Superbugs

Elsmere Delaware Medical Malpractice Attorney

Due to the wide use of antibiotics over the last hundred years or so, dangerous drug-resistant strains of bacteria are now a common threat in hospitals and emergency rooms across the country. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug-resistant bacteria infects more than two million people nationwide and is responsible for at least 23,000 deaths. While many people may have heard of necrotizing fasciitis, commonly referred to as “flesh eating bacteria”, there are a number of other bacteria that represent an increasing threat to the health of patients in hospitals and emergency rooms.

Drug Resistant Bacteria – A New Threat in Hospitals and ERs

At the moment, there are primarily six different superbugs that represent a serious threat to patients:

  • MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) – often associated with urinary tract, bone, and joint infections. The mortality rate for MRSA is roughly 35%.
  • Resistant Streptococcus (Strep A) – Also known as flesh eating bacteria, the morality rate for Strep A is roughly 28%.
  • Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus – Especially dangerous – roughly a 40% mortality rate – if it enters an open wound or the urinary tract.
  • Resistant Klebsiella Pneumonia – Associated with NDM-1. Results in difficult to treat blood infections, surgical site infections, and meningitis. The mortality rate is roughly 50%.
  • Resistant Pseudomonas Aeruginosa – Typically enters through a cut or break in the skin, leading to kidney and blood infections. A serious threat to cancer patients, the mortality rate of this bug is roughly 50%.
  • Resistant Acinetobacter Baumannii – This bug represents a big threat to people with a suppressed immune system. As a result, patients undergoing an invasive procedure at a hospital are particularly vulnerable. The mortality for this superbug is roughly 80%.

Hygiene – The Key to Preventing Superbug Infections

The best way to prevent an infection from a superbug is through hygiene. While hospitals often undertake efforts to prevent infection, the threat of these superbugs demands that hospitals take additional measures. Failure on the part of doctors or nurses to wash their hands thoroughly can increase or cause an infection. Additionally, healthcare staff must properly clean and sterilize catheters, ventilators, and other medical utensils to minimize or prevent superbug infections.

When proper hygiene is not practiced, hospitals can be held financially liable for injuries and deaths that happen as a result.

Contact Elsmere Medical Malpractice Attorney Michael Hood

When a superbug infection happens, it’s not uncommon for hospitals to claim there are risks associated with every medical procedure or hospitalization. While true in principle, this side steps the issue of whether or not proper preventative measures were taken.

If you’ve suffered medical complications due to a superbug infection, contact medical malpractice attorney Michael Hood today to discuss your case. Contact our office online or call us at (302) 777-1000. There is no charge for your first visit.