The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is putting hospital administrators and personnel on notice regarding its concern over rising numbers of preventable healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
According to its Vital Signs Report, not enough is being done to control the increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in health care settings:
“New data show that far too many patients are getting infected with dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria in healthcare settings,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Doctors and healthcare facilities have the power to protect patients – no one should get sick while trying to get well.” (1)
Infections in Acute Care and Long-term Hospitals
In this latest press release, the CDC warns that in acute care hospitals, 1 in seven catheter- and surgery related HAIs are caused by any one of six antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The situation becomes even more dire in long-term acute care hospitals, where 1 in four secondary infections are caused by the bacteria. When at-risk patients contract one of these bacteria, the resulting infection may lead to sepsis (also known as septicemia, or blood poisoning) or death.
The 6 Most Dangerous Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria
The six antibiotic-resistant bacteria that the CDC are most concerned with are:
- Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), including E. coli;
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA);
- ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae (extended-spectrum β-lactamases);
- Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE);
- Multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa; and
- Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter.
While U.S. hospitals have managed, between 2008 and 2014, to lower the incidence of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) by 50%, 1 in 6 of current CLABSIs are caused by one of these bacterial strains. They also cause 1 in 7 of all surgical site infections (SSRIs) and 1 in 10 of all catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs).
CDC Recommendations for Healthcare Facilities
In FY 2016, Congress appropriated $160 million to support the CDC in its implementation of a National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria. The CDC thus hopes to heighten its outbreak detection and prevention initiatives in all states, support further research into antibiotic-resistant infections and mechanisms, and educate healthcare workers and patients about appropriate antibiotic use.
In a large-scale public relations campaign, the CDC is already urging that healthcare workers combine three vital infection control practices, particularly when dealing with catheterized and surgical patients:
- They should focus on preventing the spread of bacteria between patients, both by tracking patterns of antibiotic resistance in their facilities and isolating patients as warranted;
- They should implement measures to prevent infections related to surgery and / or catheter placement; and
- They should prescribe antibiotics correctly.
Hospital Infection Lawsuits
When secondary bacterial infections like MRSA, Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, Elizabethkingia, Legionnaires’ Disease, or Pseudomonas aeruginosa strike hospital or long-term care patients who already have weakened immune systems, they can be deadly. When such cases result specifically from the failure of a medical provider to promptly diagnose and treat a hospital-acquired infection they should have spotted, then potentially strong grounds are laid for victims or their families to file a hospital infection claim.
Attorney Fred Pritzker and his national Bad Bug Law Team® are among the few groups of attorneys who have successfully achieved significant lawsuit settlements for patients who have developed sepsis and / or died from bacterial infections acquired from hospitals, restaurants, drug manufacturers, and retailers. For information about how to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit arising from a bacterial infection, please call 1-888-377-8900 or contact our medical malpractice lawyers for a free consultation (click here).
- Press Release. “Superbugs threaten hospital patients.” CDC Newsroom. Web. 3 Mar. 2016.