Hospitals Must Work to Prevent Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia

Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a potentially serious lung infection that can develops in a hospital-bound patient on a ventilator to assist breathing. A ventilator may help a patient breathe by delivering oxygen through a tube placed in the mouth or nose, or sometimes through a hole in the front of the neck. Infections like VAP can occur if germs enter through the tube and get into a patient’s lungs.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitors infections that hospital patients are likely to acquire, particularly when immune systems are compromised.

According to the CDC, about four percent of all hospital patients will develop at least one healthcare-associated infection. The CDC provides guidelines to help prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia and help the public understand how severe these infections can be.

Following an incident involving VAP or another healthcare-associated infection, victims should contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to investigate.

Joe Lyon is an experienced Ohio medical malpractice and personal injury attorney, well-versed in the impacts such an injury has on the victim’s life and family. 

Preventing Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia

Patients may require ventilators when they very ill, when they have trouble breathing or during and after surgery. Ventilators can save lives, but may also increase a patient’s risk of acquiring pneumonia while environmental germs enter the patient’s lungs. To prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia, doctors, nurses are urged to heed the following suggestions:

  • Keep patient’s bed raised between 30 and 45 degrees unless other medical conditions disallow this position
  • Monitor patient’s ability to breathe, and take them off of ventilator as soon as possible
  • Clean and disinfect hands before and after touching the patient or the ventilator
  • Clean the inside of the patient’s mouth on a regular basis
  • Clean or replace equipment between ventilator uses

VAP and other hospital-acquired infections are typically treated with antibiotics. Specific antibiotics used depend on which bacteria are causing an infection. The healthcare provider should be decisive and prompt about treatment and communicate with the patient and family members.

If you or a loved one has suffered a complication related to Ventilator-associated Pneumonia (VAP), and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.