Vold LLC’s lawyers help patients and the families of patients who were infected with the Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria while receiving medical care in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities.
What is Acinetobacter?
Acinetobacter baumannii kills tens of thousands of patients in U.S. hospitals each year. Acinetobacter is a Gram-negative bacteria, meaning it produces a negative reaction to the Gram stain test. The bacteria’s cell structure makes it more difficult to attack with antibiotics than Gram-positive bacteria like MRSA. “In many respects it’s far worse than MRSA,” said Dr. Louis B. Rice, an infectious-disease specialist at the Louis Stokes Cleveland V.A. Medical Center and at Case Western Reserve University. “There are strains out there, and they are becoming more and more common, that are resistant to virtually every antibiotic we have.”
Who’s at Risk for Acinetobacter Infections?
Acinetobacter posses the greatest risk to patients with weakened immune systems. At risk patients include those who have undergone surgery (e.g., hip replacements); burn victims; patients with open wounds, diabetes, or chronic lung disease; patients with immune disorders; children and the elderly.
Acinetobacter typically enters into the body through open wounds, catheters, and breathing tubes. The bacteria grows in infected patients’ sputum or respiratory secretions, wounds, and urine. It also commonly colonizes in irrigating or IV solutions.
Acinetobacter can live up to 5 months outside of the body on undisturbed surfaces, depending on humidity levels. It is often unknowningly spread from patient to patient by health care workers and hospital visitors that carry the bacteria on their hands and clothes into neighboring wards and other medical facilities.
Acinetobacter Infection Symptoms
Acinetobacter can cause a number of serious, often deadly infections, the most common of which are discussed below.
- Urinary tract infection: A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the kidneys, ureters, or bladder. A UTI caused by Acinetobacter can occur when the bacteria enters the body through a catheter that is used to drain urine. A UTI is the most common type of hospital-acquired infection.
- Pneumonia: Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Acinetobacter may cause pneumonia if the bacteria entered a patient’s nose, mouth, or lungs. It’s particularly common if a patient has received treatment in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or if the patient used a ventilator. Pneumonia is the second most common type of hospital-acquired infection.
- Bloodstream infection: A blood infection may occur if Acinetobacter enters the body through a central-line catheter, other catheter, or IV, or spreads from one infected area of the body to a patient’s blood.
- Skin, wound, or surgical site infection: Any skin opening can become infected with Acinetobacter, including open wounds, burns, sores, or surgical sites.
The symptoms of an Acinetobacter infection depend on what area of your body has been infected. They can include any or all of the following: fever; headaches, stiff neck, or drowsiness; red, swollen, warm, or painful skin or wounds; orange, bumpy skin with blisters; cough, chest pain, or difficultly breathing; or burning feeling while urinating.
Contact Vold LLC immediately if you, or a family member, were infected with Acinetobacter while receiving medical care in a hospital, nursing home, and other health care facility.