By Joe Messa
Ohio State University Medical Center and five other hospitals will begin a seven-month clinical trial of the Verigene Gram-positive Blood Culture Nucleic Acid Test, a device approved in June by the Food and Drug Administration. The device is the first system the FDA has approved that can quickly identify certain bacteria that may be present in a patient and caus bloodstream infections.
In most cases where a physician has identified symptoms associated with sepsis or another bloodstream infection, it takes about three days for test results to confirm the infection. At that point, antibiotics and other treatment must be started immediately to manage the infection. In some cases, this may be too late, as the infections often spread quickly and can cause other serious injuries or death. The Verigene test will allow physicians to receive results within three hours and can detect up to a dozen specific bacteria known to cause sepsis, including strains of Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus and Listeria. The test can also reveal whether the germs are Methicillin-resistant staph aureus (commonly known as MRSA) or Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE), two of the toughest pathogens around. With this information, medical professionals will immediately know which type of bacteria their patient has and if there is a way to treat it.
The Verigene test had an accuracy rate of at least above 95 percent in its initial trials when comparing its results to the results of traditional cultures. The FDA approved the device based on a study of 1,642 patient blood samples that compared traditional methods with the Vergiene test, with accuracy ranging from 93 percent to 100 percent. According to doctors familiar with the device, the test will allow patients to receive treatment faster, increasing their chances of surviving sepsis.
Sepsis infections, also called septicemia or bacteremia, can be sudden and difficult to identify. Sepsis may appear to be a minor injury or illness at the onset but could lead to total organ failure in a patient within just a few hours or days. Death rates for sepsis are extremely high — between 20 percent and 50 percent — and largely depend on how quickly victims are diagnosed and treated with antibiotics to fight bacteria racing through their systems. Survivors of sepsis infections often suffer with amputations because the infection leads to tissue death in the limbs.
Still, sepsis is a condition where most people are extremely unaware of its existence and potentially deadly effects. According to a report issued by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality last year, hospital stays for sepsis in the U.S. have more than doubled and account for approximately 1.6 million hospitalizations a year. The report states that there are 4,600 patients every day who require treatment for sepsis infections.
The Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling cases resulting from failure to treat hospital infections. Our extremely skilled team of medical malpractice attorneys and medical experts is dedicated to ensuring you receive proper compensation for your personal injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered personal injuries as a result of failure to treat a hospital infection, medical error or any other type of negligent care received by a medical provider, contact the medical malpractice attorneys of Messa & Associates for a free consultation. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More