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People suffer fatal injuries each year due to poor hospital care. In fact, due to their hurried and overcrowded nature, emergency rooms alone are reported to be responsible for an exorbitant number of medical mistakes. Most of us consider medical malpractice to be obvious prescription errors, misdiagnoses, or surgical mistakes. However, when it comes to hospital-acquired infections, it may be very difficult to determine who, if anyone, was negligent.
Acinetobacter baumannii is an anti-biotic resistant, fatal bacterium that is found in a hospital environment. This superbug can cause meningitis, urinary tract infections, and flesh-eating diseases, but when these illnesses present themselves, it may be almost impossible to determine that Acinetobacter baumannii was the cause. Acinetobacter baumannii can also colonize in the patient. When this happens, the patient may not suffer any symptoms, but will be considered a carrier. This may be especially problematic because Acinetobacter baumannii is not an airborne illness. It spreads through skin-to-skin contact and can live for extended periods on surfaces, easily contaminating patients and medical staff.
Healthy people are at a very low risk for contamination. However, those with compromised immune systems or enduring long hospital stays are at a greater risk to contract Acinetobacter baumannii. Additionally, the elderly, burn victims, and those undergoing invasive surgical procedures are at a higher risk.
There is a growing concern over the fact that hospital-acquired, drug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii seems to be on the rise in children, especially those with chronic conditions and compromised immune systems. The National Center for Biotechnology Information has indicated a high rate of Acinetobacter baumannii in newborns with underlying medical conditions.
Although antibiotics have proven somewhat successful in the treatment of Acinetobacter baumannii colonization, once illness manifests, the bacterium is resistant to most anti-biotics. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers it a very serious public health threat. Although there are medications to which the bacterium is sensitive, there is not one antibiotic that is consistently successful, and treatment should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Considering that Acinetobacter baumannii is extremely difficult to treat, the focus has shifted toward hospital prevention. Because it can live in the environment for several days, hospitals must carefully follow infection control procedures. This includes the following:
If you or your loved one is suffering from a hospital’s mistake, a South Jersey medical malpractice lawyer is standing by to hear the details of your case. For dedicated guidance on your next steps or to hear about what compensation you may be eligible for, call Folkman Law today at 856-354-9444 or submit an online inquiry form. With offices conveniently located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve injured individuals and their families throughout the surrounding areas, including those in Burlington County and Camden County.