How Do I Protect Myself from “Superbugs” at the Hospital?

How Do I Protect Myself from “Superbugs” at the Hospital?



Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

The same “superbug” strain of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (sometimes referred to as CRE) that killed two people in Los Angeles has found its way to a Charlotte-area hospital. A spokesman for the Carolinas HealthCare System reported that so far 15 patients were admitted to the hospital with the CRE bacteria while an additional 3 patients contracted the superbug while in the hospital. Another patient has died, although the precise cause of death is not clear.

What is a “Superbug” and Where Did CRE Originate?

The term “superbug” refers generally to any bacterial strain that has become resistant to current antibiotics and other medical treatments. The present strain of CRE was first discovered after seven patients at the UCLA Medical Center contracted the bacteria following endoscopic procedures. Testing later traced the bacteria back to two medical scopes that had been disinfected according to guidelines but still carried the bacteria.

Is There Any Way to Protect Myself from “Superbugs?”

Superbugs are, by definition, resistant to antibiotics and most conventional forms of medical treatment. This means that other forms of prevention and treatment are usually necessary in order for an individual protect him- or herself from infection. In particular, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises people in general and especially hospital patients to:

  • Inform their doctor of all hospital stays, including what facility the person was treated at;
  • Take antibiotics only as prescribed;
  • Be sure to continue taking any prescribed antibiotics until discontinued by a doctor’s order – even if the person feels he or she no longer needs antibiotics;
  • Insist that any healthcare providers wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based cleanser before and after touching the person’s body or tubs going into the person’s body; and
  • Wash their hands thoroughly before preparing or eating food, before and after changing bandages, after using the bathroom, and after blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing.

What Should I Do if a Loved One Contracts CRE?

If a loved one contracts CRE, it is important that he or she follow his or her doctor’s advice and direction. It can be frightening to be diagnosed with a superbug, but treatments are still available. Unfortunately, the person may be ill for a lengthy period of time, resulting in not only pain and suffering but medical expenses and time missed from work.

Furthermore, a superbug infection obtained from a hospital or medical center does not always mean the infected person can obtain compensation through a medical malpractice case. The heart of such a case requires the infected person to show he or she suffered an infection as a result of actions by the facility that deviated significantly from what a reasonable healthcare facility should have done. If the facility did not wash and disinfect scopes according to accepted guidelines, an infected patient may have a case; however, a facility which followed all applicable state and national disinfection guidelines cannot usually be held liable for a patient’s infection and resulting injuries.

At Bice Law, LLC, we are committed to helping those injured by medical mistakes and carelessness recover compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one have been injured or become sick following a hospital stay, contact us at (855) 500-BICE right away to discuss your case.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability.  We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly.  Call (855) 500-BICE today or submit an online request  to get a free consultation with a  personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

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