When a person does not have functioning kidneys that can remove waste from the body, dialysis is generally the only viable treatment unless or until a kidney transplant takes place. Dialysis can keep a patient alive for a long time, even indefinitely, provided that the patient’s medical care is provided by professionals in accordance with best practices.
Efforts are continually being made to improve the health and safety of dialysis patients to ensure these patients remain as healthy as possible. UPI, for example, reports that the CDC has recently provided tools and guidelines to dialysis centers in order to help prevent bloodstream infections from occurring. As a result, a 32 percent decrease in bloodstream infections occurred in dialysis patients in facilities that used the federal prevention guidelines.
Our Boston dialysis injury attorneys know that tougher guidelines protecting patients can have a major impact on saving lives. However, dialysis patients still remain at risk of complications, including the potential of infection or the chance that a drug will later turn out to be dangerous, as so many have before.
Dialysis Infections Down
According to UPI, the CDC and participating dialysis centers first began working together in 2009 in order to create and implement interventions and guidelines that would prevent or reduce the number of bloodstream infections in dialysis patients.
There is a real need to fight bloodstream infections because these types of infections are far too common in patients who undergo dialysis. As many as 8 out of every 10 dialysis patients has a central line implanted. A central line is a tube that a doctor puts in a patient’s chest or vein in order to administer medical treatment.
Unfortunately, central lines can become dirty or can be put in incorrectly. When and if this occurs, the central line can provide a way for germs to enter into the body, where the germs cause infections.
To fight infection, the CDC made several recommendations including using an antiseptic for the skin called chlorhexidine. The CDC also issued guidelines related to catheter exit-site care; training for staff; and testing methods to determine if staff uses proper aseptic techniques and cares for the catheter properly. Finally, vascular access care audits, hand hygiene protocols and feedback systems are also part of the CDC guidelines.
Dialysis centers that implement the CDC guidelines can do a lot to protect patients, thus reducing some of the potential dangers. With a 32 percent decrease in bloodstream infections, every dialysis center should try to implement the CDC guidelines in order to reduce the risk to patients. If a patient does develop an infection and these best practices are not followed, then it could be argued that the dialysis center was negligent and is responsible for the injuries that the patient suffered due to the infection.
Of course, even when a dialysis center is able to reduce infections, this doesn’t mean patients are guaranteed smooth sailing. From the risks of dangerous drugs such as the GranuFlo and NaturaLyte disasters, which caused thousands of deaths, to the risks of blood clots or uncontrolled bleeding, dialysis patients face many potential dangers. Doctors and care providers need to do everything possible to reduce the dangers from these complications and to keep patients safe.
If you or a loved one suffered a dialysis injury in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
Massachusetts Malpractice Watch: Hospital Infections Devastate Patients, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, May 17, 2013