Poor Communication Among Healthcare Professionals Lead to Catheter Infections

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Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers discuss catheter infections resulting from poor communication among healthcare professionals.Catheters are often used during a surgical procedure or when patients are unable to urinate. Indwelling catheters drain urine from the bladder into a bag outside the body. These devices are widely used in hospitals, but if they are not properly monitored by the healthcare professionals responsible for a patient’s care, they can cause infections. According to researchers from the University of Michigan, catheters cause approximately 25 percent of all hospital infections. While efforts have been made to reduce the use and misuse of catheters, infections continue to occur due to poor physician-nurse communication.

According to a professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, when the lines of communication between healthcare professionals begin to break down, even the most routine procedures can cause serious problems. Considering how common catheter use is in hospitals, and how simple it is to monitor a patient’s catheter, there is no reason why such a large percentage of hospital infections are related to catheter use. It is important that healthcare professionals address this issue and identify effective ways to improve communication so that patients do not suffer the consequences.

Common Communication Issues

The researchers interviewed a small group of healthcare professionals, including nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and physicians about communication issues, or monitoring problems within their teams. The respondents shared the following:

  • Poor communication caused a delay in the removal of unnecessary catheters.
  • Communication breakdowns were caused by poor doctor-nurse relationships, hierarchical differences, and other issues that prevent nurses from participating in daily rounds.
  • Since catheters are often hidden under blankets, physicians do not always know who is using one, particularly if a nurse is not present to bring it to the physician’s attention.
  • Oftentimes, catheters are not removed when they should be, which results in infections. Approximately 60 to 90 percent of intensive care patients have urinary catheters, and up to 30 percent of patients outside the ICU have catheters.
  • Nurses and doctors may record different information on electronic health records, which can cause communication breakdowns. Delays in updating charts can also cause confusion.

In some cases, patients prefer catheters over having to get up to use the toilet. However, any device that is inserted into the body carries with it a risk of infection. If a catheter is not properly sanitized before it is inserted, bacteria can enter the bloodstream. It is a healthcare provider’s responsibility to inform patients about the risks associated with catheters, including infections, trauma, and bleeding.

Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Victims of Catheter Infections

If you developed a catheter-related infection while you were in the hospital, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We will thoroughly examine the details of your case and determine whether your healthcare professional failed to properly monitor your catheter. Our dedicated and compassionate legal team will protect your rights and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injury. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.