How Florida Hospitals Prevent Postoperative Infection
There are risks involved with any type of surgery, but some of them do not come from the typical sources you expect. Many patients suffer surgical site infection after a procedure, which the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines as an infection that develops in the part of the body in which the operation occurred. A postoperative infection could affect just the skin that was incised to perform the surgery, but it may also cause problems for lower layers of skin, organs, and tissues. A surgical site infection might even impact implanted material that surgeons inserted to remedy a medical condition.
Postoperative infection can lead to severe, potentially life-threatening health problems and require extensive treatment. Hospitals and staff undertake measures to prevent issues, but they may fail in their duty to provide quality patient care. It is important to talk to a Tampa medical malpractice lawyer about your remedies, though you should also understand how hospitals fall short.
Preventing Surgical Site Infection: The CDC has established infection prevention guidelines for hospitals, and many health care facilities go above and beyond with their own policies. Postoperative infection is more likely when providers fail to follow basic prevention tasks, such as:
- Washing hands and arms up to the elbow with a special soap before beginning the procedure;
- Cleaning hands with alcohol-based solution before and after providing post-operative care;
- Removing patches of hair just before an operation to ensure it does not enter the surgical area;
- Wearing specially treated gowns, head coverings, scrubs, and gloves during surgery to maintain a sterile surgical space;
- Administering antibiotics before a procedure and up top 24 hour after surgery to stem any potential infection; and,
- Using a special antiseptic soap after an operation to clean the skin around the surgical site.
Your Responsibilities as a Patient: As the patient, you play an important role in preventing surgical site infections as well. Before the procedure, make sure you disclose all medical issues to health care providers. Allergies, tobacco use, obesity, alcohol consumption, diabetes, and other conditions can increase the potential for developing postoperative infection. Your surgeon should advise you with these risk factors, especially the ones that are within your control.
In addition, when you are released from the hospital, you will be in charge of caring for the surgical wound. Your physicians will provide specific instructions about cleaning it, changing the dressing, and noting any problems. Always make sure you thoroughly wash hands before handling gauze and other materials, as well as after you finish replacing the dressing. If you will have visitors, request that they wash hands with soap or antibacterial gel.
Discuss Legal Options with a Florida Postoperative Infection Lawyer
It is a relief to know that you have remedies after developing a surgical site infection, though you will need help with the legal process. Our team at Greco & Wozniak P.A. is prepared to fight for your rights, so please call 813.223.7849 or visit us online to set up a free consultation at our offices in Tampa, FL.