Hospital acquired infections can be from viruses, fungi, and bacteria; the most common infections of the hospital including bloodstream infections, pneumonia and ventilator associated pneumonia; you can also get a urinary tract infections and infections occurring at a surgical site. Hospital-acquired infections generally occur in the sickest and most immunosuppressed patients.
The signs and symptoms of hospital acquired infections include the following:
- Catheter insertion after the first week of life in newborns
- Catheter site redness
- Long duration of parenteral nutrition
- Extremely low birth weight
- Cloudy urine that is foul smelling
The diagnosis of hospital acquired infections includes the following:
- Clinical presentation of the patient as noted above.
- Culture results for bacteria
- Positive fungal culture if a fungal infection is suspected
- Vegetation of the heart vessels
- Low oxygen saturation
- Chest x-ray abnormalities
- Abnormal sputum gram stain
Depending on the suspected location of the hospital acquired infection, the work up and diagnosis is different. The doctor should make a careful physical examination and obtain a blood culture and CBC. If the culture from a catheter is the same as the culture from the blood, then the source of the infection is clear. Fungal growth on a blood culture should not be seen as a contaminant. The doctor should also do an imaging study such as an echocardiogram looking for bacterial vegetations on a heart valve. Bacterial and fungal infections can cause this.
Pneumonia can be hospital acquired. Doctors check for a white count, C reactive protein and blood culture. A chest x-ray can show areas of consolidation. Look for decreasing oxygen saturation and a hemodynamic status that is declining. Sometimes a sputum gram stain and cultures can help define the pathogenic organism. All of these cultures can help decide what antibiotic to use.
If the urinalysis is positive for white blood cells and bacteria, it is time to do a culture. In a urinalysis, look for positive leukocyte esterase, nitrites, white cells and bacteria. If these are positive, a UTI is likely.
The management of hospital-acquired infections includes reversal of hypoventilation, treatment of shock and management of other complications. Remove lines if able, start appropriate antibiotics, use antifungal if appropriate and an antiviral if appropriate.
How can we help?
If you or a loved one has acquired a hospital acquired infection, please contact us to speak with one of our specialist solicitors who can evaluate your case to determine your legal rights and options.
Our initial consultation will office advice and identify if you have a good case, how to go about claiming and how much your compensation might be worth. We will give you clear unequivocal advice about your chances of success and the anticipated value of your claim. If after talking to us you decide not to take your hospital acquired infection compensation claim further you are under no obligation to do so and you will not be charged anything at all.
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