Many healthcare workers could be contaminating themselves and the places in which they work by failing to use personal protective equipment (PPE) and to follow protocol to prevent infections, according to a study last month from the University of Utah and University of Michigan.
Researchers performed 325 observations of healthcare workers over a year and watched employee behavior inside and outside the rooms of patients. Observations showed there were 283 offenses that could trigger a contamination problem or transmission of an infectious agent:
- There were 102 violations that were determined to be failing to follow the required interaction protocol. Many of the violations pertained to failing to use PPE, including masks, gowns and gloves. Violations were seen when workers interacted with the families of patients, delivered medical supplies to patient rooms and checked equipment.
- 144 violations were determined to be mistakes in procedure or process. Some of the examples included taking off a gown in an incorrect sequence, touching a gloved hand to an ID badge, or using a gloved hand to collect drugs or supplies from pockets.
- 37 violations were determined to be an inadvertent responsive behavior, such as using a hand in glove to touch a personal device or one’s face.
The researchers found that there were many reasons for these failures in the healthcare workplace. This suggests there is a need for many strategies to reduce the possibility of infection transmission during medical care. They advise a reconsideration of technology and strategies that include procedures to follow in the patient’s room where PPE is needed. Researchers also observed violations that were related to poorly designed clothes, computer access and room configuration.
Your Rights As a Patient or Employee
It is surprising to some people, but healthcare facilities can be a terrible breeding ground for infections and germs. The Centers for Disease Control states that every year 648,000 people in the U.S. develop infections in healthcare centers. It is also estimated that 75,000 people each year die from infections they get at the hospital.
It is the responsibility of the healthcare facility to ensure that proper protocol is followed to prevent infections among workers and patients. If an infection spreads in a hospital and it affects workers and/or patients, it is possible that the healthcare facility could be sued for medical malpractice. Employees could be entitled to compensation in a worker’s comp claim. Even if the infection was spread by an employee’s failure to follow the rules, it is still possible to hold the healthcare facility responsible for your injuries.
If You Suffered an Infection in a Hospital, Call Us Today
When a healthcare employer fails to follow safety protocols and properly train workers to prevent infections, a workplace can become unsafe for employees. If you are a healthcare worker who contracted a healthcare-associated infection, or if you are a patient who got an infection in a hospital, you should talk to a Georgia worker’s compensation and personal injury attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages and other damages. Please contact the Mann Law Firm for a free consultation today.