Healthcare-Associated Infections: Not Only a Clinical Burden, But a Forensic Point of View

Author(s): Marco Di Paolo, Luigi Papi, Paolo Malacarne, Federica Gori, Emanuela Turillazzi*.

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

Volume 20 , Issue 8 , 2019

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Graphical Abstract:


Background: Healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) occur when patients receiving treatment in a health care setting develop an infection. They represent a major public health problem, requiring the integration of clinical medicine, pathology, epidemiology, laboratory sciences, and, finally, forensic medicine.

Methods: The determination of cause of death is fundamental not only in the cases of presumed malpractice to ascertain the causal link with any negligent behavior both of health facilities and of individual professionals, but also for epidemiological purposes since it may help to know the global burden of HCAIs, that remains undetermined because of the difficulty of gathering reliable diagnostic data. A complete methodological approach, integrating clinical data by means of autopsy and histological and laboratory findings aiming to identify and demonstrate the host response to infectious insult, is mandatory in HCAIs related deaths.

Results: Important tasks for forensic specialists in hospitals and health services centers are the promotion of transparency and open communication by health-care workers on the risk of HCAIs, thus facilitating patients’ engagement and the implementation of educational interventions for professionals aimed to improve their knowledge and adherence to prevention and control measures.

Conclusion: HCAIs are a major problem for patient safety in every health-care facility and system around the world and their control and prevention represent a challenging priority for healthcare institution and workers committed to making healthcare safer. Clinicians are at the forefront in the war against HCAIs, however, also forensic pathologists have a remarkable role.

Keywords: Healthcare-acquired infection, forensic issues, litigation, autopsy, patient information, disclosure of HCAIs risks.

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Year: 2019
Page: [658 - 664]
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.2174/1389201020666190618122649
Price: $65

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