Understanding and preventing CLASBIs in Florida

Central line-associated bloodstream infections are a serious type of ailment, but by taking the appropriate precautions, they may be prevented.

When people in Florida and elsewhere are admitted to the hospital for serious illnesses or injuries, they expect for their conditions to improve, not worsen. Unfortunately, however, some patients may contract serious infections, such as central line-associated bloodstream infections, while in hospitals, long-term care and other health care facilities. Understanding what this ailment is and how it can be prevented may help people protect themselves from suffering worsened medical conditions as a result of medical negligence or malpractice.

What is a CLASBI?

Central lines are a type of catheter that medical professionals may place in large veins in the chest, neck or groin. These lines serve to administer medications or fluids, or to collect blood. A central line-associated bloodstream infection, or CLASBI, is a type of serious infection that may occur when bacteria or viruses enter the bloodstream through a patient's catheter lines.

Patients who suffer central line infections may experience a significant worsening of their medical conditions, or death. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports that up to 28,000 people die every year in the U.S. as a result of CLASBIs. When people contract this type of infection, they may require antibiotics or other medical interventions, as well as an extended hospital stay.

What can health care providers do to prevent CLASBIs?

Much of the onus in preventing central line infections falls to the health care providers. Some of the steps they can take to help keep their patients safe include the following:

  • Washing their hands thoroughly with soap and water before placing the line
  • Use sterile barrier precautions
  • Apply skin antiseptic and ensure it has dried completely before inserting the line
  • Adhere to the recommended central line maintenance practices

Additionally, medical professionals should ensure that central lines are removed as soon as patients no longer need them.

What can patients do avoid CLASBIs?

In addition to health care professionals using care to avoid patients contracting CLASBIs, there is a number of things patients can do to help keep themselves safe. When they have central lines, people are advised to refrain from touching the tubing or insertion sites, and to ask their visitors to do the same. Patients should also inform their medical providers right away if their bandages become wet or dirty, as well as if they notice any indications of an infection.

Seeking legal guidance

When patients contract CLASBIs in Florida and elsewhere, they may suffer worsened conditions and require additional medical treatment. As a result, they may incur undue medical expenses, as well as lose income while they are off work recovering. Depending on the circumstances, the health care providers or facilities responsible for their care when they contracted the infections may be held financially liable. Therefore, those who have developed CLASBIs or other health care-associated infections may find it helpful to consult with an attorney to discuss their options for pursuing compensation.