Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers Discuss Superbug Bacteria in Healthcare Settings

Hospitals across the country are taking steps to prevent healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) that are caused by serious antibiotic-resistant bacteria. While improvements have been made, there is still work to be done to address patient safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that healthcare workers implement a combination of infection control measures in order to prevent more patients from becoming infected by these dangerous superbugs.

According to CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., recent data shows that these antibiotic-resistant bacteria are infecting a significant number of people while they are being treated in healthcare facilities such as acute-care hospitals and long-term acute care hospitals. Too often, a sick patient is treated for a condition or illness only to become infected with a resistant strain of bacteria while in the hospital. Because many of these bacteria do not respond to antibiotics, these infections can lead to sepsis or even death.

Data examined the following six antibiotic-resistant bacteria:

  • Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae (extended-spectrum B-lactamases)
  • Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE)
  • Multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter

Improvements in Preventing HAI’s

Hospitals in the United States have made considerable progress in fighting these infections. Data from the latest annual report from the CDC, as well as data from a Vital Signs report shows the following achievements in HAI prevention:

  • Between 2008 and 2014, central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLBSIs) were decreased by 50 percent.
  • Between 2008 and 2014, there was a 17 percent decrease in surgical site infections (SSIs) among the 10 procedures followed in previous HAI progress reports.
  • While there was no change in catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) between 2009 and 2014, there were improvements in all settings between 2013 and 2014, particularly in late 2014.

One of the most common HAI-causing bacteria in hospitals is Clostridium difficile (C.difficile), which was responsible for close to half a million infections in this country in 2011. The CDC reports that there has been an eight percent decrease in hospital-onset C. difficile between 2011 and 2014.

A Call to Action by the CDC

The CDC is encouraging all healthcare professionals, as well as state and local health departments, to review the updated annual progress report and access the newly released, interactive app called Antibiotic Resistance Patient Safety Atlas. The app provides a wide range of tools and information about these superbugs and how they become resistant over time.

While preventing the spread of HAI’s has saved thousands of lives, antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria continue to cause infections. According to Patrick Conway, M.D., M.Sc., Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, healthcare officials are addressing this problem through incentives, modifications in the delivery of care, and improvements in the quality of care for patients. In addition, Congress has allocated $160 million for the CDC to implement a National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

By stopping the spread of bacteria to other patients, preventing infections resulting from surgeries or catheter placement, and improving the use of antibiotics, healthcare professionals can ensure a safer hospital environment for patients.

Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Patient Who Have Become Ill from a Hospital-Acquired Infection

If your health has been compromised by antibiotic-resistant bacteria while in a hospital or long-term care facility, you may be eligible for compensation. Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton will conduct a thorough investigation of your case and determine who is responsible for your illness, and secure the maximum financial compensation for your recovery. To schedule a complementary consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

 Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent victims of medical malpractice throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.