According to the Centers For Disease Control, the number of central line infections in hospital ICUs has dropped fifty-eight percent since 2001. A central line infection might not seem like a big deal, but they are extremely serious: between twelve and twenty-five percent of patients who contract a central line infection die as a result. These deaths are part of the 98,000 deaths that are caused annually by preventable medical errors.
But really there’s no reason why we can’t get the number of central line infections to zero, or some asymptotically low level.
As I’ve previously blogged about, virtually all central line infections could be eliminated if doctors and nurses followed the simple five-step procedure for properly inserting a central line. However, at least one-third of the time, medical staff skip at least one of the steps, putting the patient at risk for infection.
Insertion of central lines is one area where hospitals could definitely benefit from rigid adherence to medical checklists. As we’ve often blogged about, a World Health Organization study shows that the use of medical checklists can reduce surgical deaths by forty-seven percent and major complications by thirty-six percent. Yet most American hospitals still don’t require the use of checklists.
This blog in maintained by the Boston medical malpractice lawyers at The Law Office of Alan H. Crede, P.C. It does not offer legal advice, nor should you construe it as offering legal advice on a medical malpractice claim that you should have.