Researchers from Brown University recently found that nursing homes may be overprescribing unnecessary antibiotics to elderly residents with suspected urinary tract infections (UTI). The infection, which occurs when bacteria enters the urethra and then the bladder, is common in nursing homes, and affects nearly half the residents, according to researchers.
Over a period of six months, researchers followed 172 patients with possible UTIs from two Rhode Island nursing homes and found that only 26 met the criteria for antibiotic treatment, while 70 patients who did not qualify also received antibiotics anyway.
Dr. David Dosa of Brown University observed that one out of seven patients who received inappropriate treatment then went on to develop gastrointestinal infections, which causes diarrhea, cramps, and potentially fatal inflammation of the colon.
Researchers are concerned that, despite existing guidelines, the fear of under-treating patients may actually lead doctors to prescribe excessive dosages of antibiotics, increasing the risk of other life-threatening infections that are more difficult to treat.
The study helps shed light on one form of nursing home neglect that often goes overlooked. Elderly patients can suffer serious consequences when doctors and caregivers fail to adequately diagnose and treat even common illnesses.
The Kiley Law Group, a Boston medical malpractice law firm, specializes in holding negligent healthcare professionals accountable for their actions. If you believe your loved one has been wrongfully injured or misdiagnosed as a result of medical negligence, call us for a free consultation at (888) 208-1695.