Although preventable, CLASBIs pose serious risk for California patients

Due to substandard care and medical negligence, patients may develop central line-associated bloodstream infections, which are potentially life threatening.

People in San Diego, and other localities, often require medical treatment. This may be for any number of reasons, including obtaining emergency medical care, monitoring continuing health conditions or treating acute ailments. When people go in for treatment, they rarely expect that their conditions will be made worse, or that they will develop life-threatening ailments. All too often, however, medical mistakes and negligence occur, and lead to serious medical conditions, such as central line-associated bloodstream infections.

What are CLASBIs?

Depending on the type of care they are receiving, some people may need to have central venous catheters, or central lines, placed. These types of lines are typically inserted into large veins in the groin, chest or neck. Similar to the more commonly known intravenous, or IV, catheters, central lines are often used to collect blood, or to administer fluids or medications.

Commonly known as CLASBIs, central line-associated bloodstream infections are a type of infection that may develop if bacteria or viruses enter the bloodstream through central lines. According to the California Department of Public Health, these types of infections may cause people to become ill, and to experience fevers and chills. In some cases, the skin surrounding the catheter's insertion site may become red or sore. Often, CLASBIs are developed in addition to the conditions that patients were initially being treated for. As such, these infections may be especially dangerous for those who are already suffering from some serious medical conditions.

How can medical professionals prevent CLASBIs?

In general, CLASBIs are considered completely preventable. This is because they are typically developed due to substandard care. As such, there are numerous steps, which health care providers can take to help prevent their patients from developing these serious infections. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality points out that some of the most common interventions for CLASBIs include the following:

  • Avoiding placing central lines in the femoral vein in adult patients
  • Practicing appropriate hand hygiene
  • Using chlorhexidine to prepare skin before inserting central venous catheters
  • Removing central lines as soon as they are no longer needed
  • Employing the proper barrier precautions when placing central lines

Furthermore, it is also helpful for medical professionals to ensure central lines stay clean and dry. By following these, and other safety and maintenance precautions, health care providers may help keep their patients safe.

How can patients prevent CLASBIs?

Beyond the steps that medical professionals should take to prevent CLASBIs, there are numerous things that people can do themselves to avoid developing these infections. It is advisable for patients to keep an eye on their bandages, as well as the area around their catheter's insertion site. They should immediately notify their health care provider if their bandages become dirty or wet, or if they notice any redness or soreness in the area. Additionally, people should refrain from touching their catheters or tubing, unless they have to.

Furthermore, the CDPH recommends that patients ask their medical providers if they have washed their hands before they allow them to touch their central lines. It is also suggested that people check with their health care professionals to see if they still need their central lines.

Working with an attorney

When people in California, and elsewhere, develop CLASBIs, they often require additional medical treatment. This typically comes with added costs. Since these types of infections are considered preventable, however, the medical professionals seeing to their care may be held liable for the resulting damages. As such, those who have developed CLASBIs may benefit from seeking legal counsel to understand their rights and options.