Are Surgical Site Infections A Hidden Consequence of Medical Wrongdoing?
When patients die days or weeks after surgery, family members often face a mixture of horror, confusion and a strong desire for answers. Grieving family members deserve answers so questions about their loved ones can be put to rest.
Surgical site infections are a common killer of patients who have just undergone surgery. When surgeons open up patients during procedures, bacteria can enter the body and quickly cause chaos by shutting down vital organs.
Surgical site infections can be caused by the presence of foreign objects left inside patients, and in such cases, may be a consequence of medical negligence. Even small objects such as pieces of glass and metal or sponges can cause surgical site infections in patients. According to Johns Hopkins University, foreign objects remain behind in patients 39 times every week across the nation.
Are Surgical Site Infections Preventable?
Many surgical site infections are preventable. Studies conducted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement suggest 40 to 60 percent of surgical site infections could be prevented with the appropriate use of prophylactic antibiotics. Presently, the improper timing of prescribing these antibiotics occurs in one-quarter to half of surgical procedures.
Other techniques used during surgery, such as shaving the operating site, can also cause fatal infections. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement suggests removing hair with clippers and not in the operating room where the surgery is to take place.
The Centers for Disease Control has its own suggestions for doctors to prevent infections, such as requiring patients to quit smoking, wearing sterile clothing for 24 to 48 hours before surgery and showering with antiseptic soap.
If hospitals implement some of these changes, lives could be saved from future surgical site infections.