Post Edited (Bee83) : 4/3/2010 12:02:16 AM (GMT-6)
Bee, I really don't think it does any good to second-guess things that were done. It's always good to question things that are going to be done--to get a good explanation of the reasons--but after the fact you are just going to beat yourself up. I can only tell you that I have liver disease and have had catheters for all 8 of my major surgeries the past 7 yrs. One I had for 7 weeks while bed-ridden and did get IV antibiotics during that time. The others I didn't and never got an infection. Your mom's body was in a very weakened state. If a transplant was never discussed, it could be that they didn't think she would survive long enough to go through all the evaluations or that she was not strong enough to go through the surgery--or both.
Please don't beat yourself up for things you didn't do or ask. As Oprah often says, "When you know better, you do better." But it may have made no difference in the outcome.
Allie, in answer to your questions, as sterile as hospitals try to keep the environment, they are nonetheless a breeding ground for infections. A person is much more likely to contract MRSA or pneumonia or any other infection in a hospital than at home. That's because of the close approximation of sick people, plus visitors who come to the hospital with infections. Add to that a weakened immune system and it's a wonder more people don't die in hospitals. I consider myself lucky to never have had an infection at the site of my 8+ incisions. I was also fortunate to only have contracted pneumonia during one of my hospitalizations (the last one.) I take a multivitamin and vitamin C daily and eat a healthful diet, which contributes to a good immune system. But after surgery, the body is in a weakened state.
Doctors and hospitals are absolutely aware of these risks, but don't mention them or stress them due to the possibility of lawsuits. It's the big elephant in the room.
Allie, it does sound like the hospital your mum has been in has been very neglectful in regard to sanitary/serile issues. I must say that Mayo here does an excellent job. EVERY patient has a private room and rooms are only on one side of the wall, with a nursing station between each room. Containers of antibacterial foam are attached to the walls and on counter tops everywhere. Every medical person who came in contact with me washed their hands and/or wore gloves. In the surgical suites, the sterile instruments come up on one dumbwaiter while the used ones go down on another to prevent cross-contamination. So I was quite surprised when I developed pneumonia. But I do believe their incidence of infection is very low and incidents of death from infection even lower. Other hospitals could learn from them.