Anytime a foreign object enters your body, you run the risk of contracting an infection. If you cut yourself while chopping vegetables, skin your knee if you fall or step on something as you walk around barefoot, you expect to take precautions to make sure you don't get an infection.
What happens during a hospitalization? Do you have the same understanding regarding the risk of infection when medical personnel use invasive devices in a hospital to save your life or treat your condition? You aren't alone if the thought hadn't occurred to you. Unfortunately, many of the invasive devices doctors use to help you could also harm you.
The types of most commonly used devices
Let's consider what happens to you if you suffer a serious injury and require substantial care in a hospital. You will probably wake up in the intensive care unit hooked up to a variety of machines. You have every right to feel grateful that the machines you see allowed you to heal enough to regain consciousness, but you also need to remain aware that you could end up with an infection from one or more of the following commonly used invasive devices:
- Doctors may use a variety of endotracheal tubes to stabilize your breathing. Most of them are inserted through the mouth, but in some cases, they could be inserted through your throat after a surgeon performs a tracheotomy.
- Most everyone is familiar with intravenous lines, or IVs. These small catheters inserted into your lower arm or hand facilitate the transmission of different types of fluids into your body.
- Depending on your situation, doctors may insert a PICC line, which is a much longer line that reaches from your upper arm almost to your heart. Doctors can leave this line in longer if you need more than one course of medications over a period of time.
- No one likes to imagine having a urinary catheter. In fact, you may be cringing right now just thinking about one, but it is a common invasive device used in hospitals to help patients urinate when they cannot move or get out of bed.
- Central lines are the most invasive of the IV catheters since doctors introduce them through either the chest or neck, and they remain in place for a significant amount of time. In fact, you could leave the hospital with this line still in place.
Doctors could use a variety of other invasive devices in your treatment, but the above represent the most commonly used during hospitalization. The longer that any of them remain in your body, the higher the chances are of infection. If an infection goes untreated, it could turn into sepsis, which could only further put your life at risk.
If you contract sepsis during a hospitalization, you may want to consult with a medical malpractice attorney here in Texas because it's quite possible you did not receive the quality and standard of care you deserved.