Medical advances and technologies have made surgery safer than in the past. Doctors and nurses must adhere to strict standards about cleanliness before, during, and after surgery to prevent germs from entering your body. Nevertheless, surgical site infections are still a major problem for patients and hospitals.
Surgical site infections (SSIs) are caused by bacteria that enter your body during surgery. The bacteria multiply and secrete toxins that damage your body's tissues, creating painful sores or even organ damage. SSIs are dangerous, which is why proper postoperative care and follow-up visits are important. Inform your doctor of any pain or irritation near the surgical site right away to get treated promptly.
Health Consequences of SSI
Some SSIs can be relatively mild, such as minor irritation during healing, and can be treated quickly and effectively. However, there is always the potential for a mild infection to develop into a more serious one. SSIs double the risk of death for surgical patients, causing a staggering 20,000 deaths last year. Seventy-seven percent of deaths among patients with an SSI are directly attributable to the SSI.
SSIs can have dangerous consequences. Bacteria that enter the bloodstream can cause sepsis (or septicemia), which leads to organ dysfunction, low blood pressure, and even death. Bacteria can also attack internal tissue and vital organs like the heart, lungs, and stomach.
Since SSIs are caused by bacteria, the usual treatment is antibiotic drugs. Antibiotics are usually effective, but an SSI increases the average hospital stay by two weeks. In addition, one strain of bacteria known as MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staph Aureus) is especially dangerous because it has developed a resistance to nearly all common antibiotics. MRSA is usually found in hospitals, making it a big risk for potentially serious surgical site infections.
Financial Consequences of SSI
An SSI can also be damaging financially, since it is likely to double or even triple the overall cost of surgery and postoperative treatment. If you don't have insurance, an SSI can be financially devastating.
If you have to spend extra time in the hospital, or your surgical wound takes too long to heal, you may have to miss more work than you can afford. On top of the health risks, an SSI can even put your job in jeopardy.
Fortunately, if you or a loved one has contracted an SSI, there is help available. SSIs are preventable, and the Houston personal injury attorneys at Kennedy Hodges, L.L.P will help you to hold someone accountable for your pain and suffering.
To find out how to get the compensation you deserve, please contact the Houston medical injury lawyers of Kennedy Hodges, L.L.P today to schedule a consultation.