What to Know About Central Line Infections

Central line blood infections are responsible for thousands of deaths each year. Also known as a central venous catheter, central lines are placed in veins near the chest, neck or groin. A central line is inserted into a vein close to the heart to provide medicine or collect blood. These are not to be confused with IVs, which are generally placed near the arm or hands to provide fluids or medicines.

A blood infection can occur when pathogens (a virus or bacteria) enter the bloodstream through the central line. There are multiple reasons why central-line infections may occur.

  1. Poor sanitation. Central lines may become infected in hospitals with poor sanitation. Staff who fail to follow sanitation policies (such as handwashing) could also put patients at risk. Contaminated fluids or devices may also cause central line infections.
  2. Poor maintenance. Central lines and the patients that use them need regular maintenance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an extensive list of maintenance guidelines for central lines on its website. These guidelines were designed to help health care providers prevent central line infections.
  3. Poor patient supervision. Central line infections may have noticeable early symptoms, such as redness around the insertion site. Patients with central lines inserted need to be closely supervised so they can be treated if an infection occurs.

Can I Sue for a Hospital Infection?

These are only three reasons why central line infections occur by the thousands each year. Multiple other types of errors can occur while preparing or maintaining central lines. Many central line infections are preventable, and there are cases where they are caused by negligent medical care. Patients who develop an infection can die or suffer permanent injuries.

You can consult with one of the Washington DC medical malpractice lawyers at Regan Zambri Long PLLC if you or a loved one were harmed by negligent medical care. We could help you determine whether a central line or hospital-acquired infection may have been caused by medical malpractice.