Diagnosis and management of hospital-acquired infection

  • Posted on: October 06, 2022

Hospital-acquired infection could lead to serious consequences for patient and for the doctor / hospital. Least the healthcare providers should do is to confirm whether a patient is infected or not by performing relevant tests, which was not done in this case.

The patient underwent hysterectomy and laparoscopy with ovarian drilling. The post-surgical period was quite complicated.

She developed high grade fever and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), hence was referred to another hospital where she was also diagnosed with acute renal failure. The patient was further referred to another hospital for better management.

To everyone’s surprise, pseudomonas were detected when patient’s blood was sent for culture test. This hospital-acquired infection turned out to be the cause of complications.

Thankfully, she recovered after few days.

The patient sued the doctor, alleging that she did not advise blood culture test despite the onset of high-grade fever immediately after operation. Instead, she adopted a line of treatment to manage malaria and dengue!

The Commission perused documents presented by hospital and observed that there was no record about swabs from operation theatre sent for culture reporting. This lack of diligence in ensuring sterilization protocol confirmed that patient could have developed hospital-acquired infection.

The Commission also observed that various tests, including MRI and sonography were advised but blood culture test was not carried out even though there was post-surgery infection.

The doctor and hospital were held negligent, as the Commission made following concluding observations:

“It is required to bear in mind that, generally when patient has recently undergone surgery, then doctor would normally prefer to have blood culture test, to avoid risk of blood infection. In present case the doctor had not carried out the culture test, for reasons best known to her. Due to lack of proper post-operative treatment the patient developed ARDS and acute renal failure”.

Source: Order pronounced by Gujarat State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 5th May, 2022.