Cincinnati, Ohio Hospital Negligence attorney: Preventable Hospital Infection Includes Dangerous Catheter-induced UTIs

Of all the Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) acquired in U.S hospitals, about 75 percent are associated with a urinary catheter—a tube inserted into the bladder through the urethra to drain urine in patients.

Catheters should only be used for appropriate indications and should be removed as soon as possible. Too often, healthcare providers neglect basic hospital infection prevention guidelines, which may result in serious injuries.

A catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is one of the more common infections a person can contract in a hospital setting, according to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. It is estimated that between 15 and 25 percent of hospitalized patients receive urinary catheters during their hospital stay, and risk a catheter-associated UTI (CAUTI) by prolonged use of the device.

Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati medical malpractice lawyer who handles cases based on hospital acquired infections. The Lyon Firm can assist you locate answers to important questions. 

Catheter-Associated UTI a Common Hospital Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in the urinary system, which includes the bladder and the kidneys. When bacteria and germs are introduced to the system in a hospital setting, a serious infection can occur. The blunt truth is patients with urinary catheters have a much higher chance of developing a urinary tract infection than people who don’t have a catheter.

Bacteria can travel along a catheter and cause infection in the bladder and kidney. Bacteria may enter the urinary tract when the catheter is being put in or while the catheter remains in the bladder. A urinary catheter is a thin tube placed in the bladder to drain urine, and is commonly used if:

  • A patient is not able to urinate on their own
  • Physicians want to measure the amount of urine made during a period of time
  • A patient is undergoing some type of surgery
  • Doctors order tests of the kidneys and bladder

Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms

Typical symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:

  • Burning or pain in lower abdomen
  • Fever
  • Cloudy or Bloody urine
  • Burning during urination
  • An increase in the frequency of urination after catheter is removed
  • Strong urine odor
  • Urine leakage around catheter
  • Pain or discomfort in lower back
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Vomiting

The Causes a CAUTI Hospital Infection

Most cases of CAUTI include bacteria or fungi entering the urinary tract through the catheter, causing the infection. Clean insertion, removal techniques, and daily catheter care can help lower the risk of a CAUTI. Catheters should not be left in longer than needed. There are several ways infection can occur during catheterization, including the following:

  • A catheter may become contaminated upon insertion
  • A drainage bag may not be emptied often enough
  • Bacteria from bowel movements may get on the catheter
  • Urine in the catheter bag may flow backward into the bladder
  • Catheters may not be regularly cleaned

Catheter UTI Complications & Hospital Infection

Prevention and prompt treatment of a CAUTI are essential because an untreated UTI can lead to a more serious kidney infection, and elder patients with catheters may already have conditions that compromise immune systems, making them more vulnerable to future infections.

Your doctor should carefully consider whether a catheter is necessary and should remove a necessary catheter as soon as possible. To prevent urinary tract infections, doctors and nurses should consider the following:

  • Catheters are put in only when necessary and they are removed as soon as possible
  • Properly training persons inserting and removing catheters using sterile technique
  • Cleaning skin in the area where the catheter will be inserted
  • Considering external catheters in men
  • Nurses must always clean their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub before and after touching a catheter
  • Avoid twisting or kinking a catheter
  • Keep the bag lower than the bladder to prevent urine from backflowing
  • Empty the bag regularly

If you or a loved one has suffered from a hospital infection, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding medical malpractice and a hospital infection.