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Preventable Urinary Tract Infections

Preventable Urinary Tract Infections arise in hospitals and are a risk to life. Antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) such as sepsis and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) go hand in hand with increased hospitalisations and intensive care stays. The more people there are in intensive care the more infections and the greater the recourse to antibiotics.

Adverse Events Preventable Urinary Tract Infections

As many as 12% of patients in European hospitals suffer from some form of adverse events. Many of these are preventable. Preventable Urinary Tract Infections arise in the gynaecological and urological setting. Many women with incontinence issues use catheters and they are seen a ‘treatment’ for retention.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) estimates that approximately 8.9 million infections occur each year in EU healthcare settings. Tragically, some of these lead to sepsis, which claims as many as 37,000 Europeans’ lives each year. The ECDC says HAIs cost Europe about €7bn per year in direct costs alone. This is in addition to patient suffering and lost productivity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), avoidable patient harm is the 14th leading cause of disease burden globally. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that the direct costs of treating safety failures amount to as much as 15% of total public health expenditure.

It remains to be seen, when we have pan-European data on CAUTI, how much is directly related to the coronavirus crisis. It is a given that many patients admitted to ICUs are going to be fitted with a urinary catheter when their health deteriorates to the point that they are unable to care for themselves. This means an increase in CAUTI because being fitted with a urinary bypass catheter is a major risk factor in developing HAIs. In fact, the vast majority of urinary tract infections in hospitals are avoidable. An important question has been asked if hospitals will now improve care and avoid infections as a result of lessons learned during the pandemic. Read the full article here 

Catheterisation as a Treatment

The data collected will assist millions of women worldwide who are ‘treated’ for retention by using catheterisation. Often without taking into account the high risk of infection that it brings. It is not acceptable to recommend continence treatment with a risk of retention. The only treatment for retention is catheterisation which becomes a life-long commitment. It is not a simple process but one which requires tremendous skill.

Over time many women will develop health issues preventing catheterisation. Poor eyesight, arthritis in wrist and fingers, back pain, issues with dexterity particularly in patients with MS or Parkinsons Disease. Catheterisation then becomes an impossible task. It is estimated that 14 million men, women, young people and children of all ages are living with bladder problems. Around 34% of women are living with urinary incontinence every day. Urinary and faecal incontinence are conditions affecting one in three people living in residential care and two in three nursing home residents.

People who suffer from chronic UTIs may experience complications. Recurring urinary tract infections may eventually cause: kidney infections, kidney disease, and other permanent kidney damage, and sepsis.

Call us today

If you think you may have a claim for Preventable Urinary Tract Infections arising from self catheterisation then call us in confidence to discuss your issue. We are happy to talk through what has happened and advise you on a potential claim. Call us for FREE on 0800 470 2009 or email Dr Victoria Handley at


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