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Failure To Administer Pre-Operative Antibiotics

Before an operation, medical professionals should ensure a patient is administered with antibiotics. This will help prevent post-operative infection occurring. If there is a failure to provide prophylactic antibiotics and an infection does develop, the standard of care will be deemed negligent.

Prophylactic antibiotics

Prophylactic means protective or preventative. Therefore prophylactic antibiotics are antibiotics that are administered to prevent a possible infection occurring. This is a measure frequently put into practice before a surgical procedure, as it is very easy for the wound to become infected.

A surgical wound infection can, however, be extremely dangerous for the patient concerned. Indeed, surgical site infections are associated with a complicated recovery process, a prolonged hospital stay and even morbidity. Thus it is highly important medical professionals take steps to prevent such a complication developing.

Preventing surgical site infection

Thankfully, most surgical site infections are now avoidable, and only around 5% of patients undergoing a surgical procedure will suffer an infection. Maintaining a clean and sterile environment is of course key, and the operating theatre, surgical equipment, surgical team and patient must all be prepared to limit the presence of bacteria.

But a sterile environment is not always effective in preventing surgical site infection, largely because everyone has bacteria inside their body that can readily attack an open wound. The only way to prevent this from happening is to kill the bacteria with antibiotics. However, with surgical procedures it is not appropriate to wait until a patient actually develops an infection, as this will lead to serious complications. Instead antibiotics should be administered before the surgical procedure, thereby ensuring the antibiotics are already in the body, ready to fight any infection that might arise.

Did medical professionals neglect to provide you with prophylactic antibiotics?

Prophylactic antibiotics may not be deemed necessary for every surgical procedure, particularly those that are considered clean and non-traumatic. But in the majority of cases antibiotics should be administered pre-operatively.

If medical professionals fail to provide prophylactic antibiotics and a patient does subsequently develop an infection such as MRSA, C Diff or necrotising fasciitis the standard of care will be considered negligent. This means the medical care given to a patient did not meet an acceptable standard, causing him or her to suffer a preventable infection.

If you or your loved one has developed a post-surgical infection and you believe that antibiotics were not given before the operation, you should contact a solicitor without delay. You could be entitled to pursue legal action against the organisation responsible which, if successful, would ensure you are properly compensation for the damages you have wrongfully incurred.

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