Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Pennsylvania patients may face injection risks

A recent analysis revealed that patients who receive care in hospitals and clinics might face risks posed by unsafe injection practices. A joint study between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments found that injection practices often lead to infections. In one case, a clinical nurse reused syringes prior to chemotherapy treatments over a period of 16 months. This eventually led to 99 patients contracting hepatitis C from one infected individual.

A hospital safety health assessment performed by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices backed the results from the CDC study. About two percent of the 1,300 hospitals that participated failed to bar shared-use vials for local anesthetics and saline flush solutions. Almost a quarter only had partial rules about such practices. Other issues, such as the reuse of insulin pens, have even led to court cases where medical malpractice attorneys prosecuted institutions on behalf of patients who came down with diseases such as HIV and HCV. A doctor working with the ISMP noted that these cases are not isolated.

The ISMP spokesperson also said that many injection errors are related to general misunderstandings about what safe injection practices actually require. A survey of 5,000 healthcare professionals conducted in 2010 demonstrated that a significant percentage of workers failed to follow recommended infection control techniques even though they thought that they did a good job.

Medical malpractice issues often cause patients to develop conditions unrelated to their original ailments. This can lead to increased treatment costs and serious emotional trauma. Medical malpractice attorneys may help these individuals secure court-ordered restitution.

Source: Gastroenterology and endoscopy news, "Unsafe Injection Practices Remain All Too Common", David Wild, August 09, 2013

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