Treatment for Infections
The failure to provide appropriate diagnosis and treatment for infection is a common problem. The rules are simple. When there are signs of infection, the doctors are supposed to take cultures before ordering antibiotics. Without the cultures to identify the offending germs, providing treatment is like target shooting while blindfolded. The culture and sensitivity report will tell your doctor which antibiotic to use. In the case of a forty-nine-year-old man with an infected leg wound, the doctor failed to take a culture. Three weeks later the doctor discovered that he had been giving his patient an ineffective antibiotic. By that time the infection had spread to the man's blood and damaged his heart valves.
Sometimes a patient develops a fever of unknown origin. The standard of care for a hospitalized patient is to culture the blood, sputum, and urine and take a chest x-ray. Doctors then should order a broad-spectrum antibiotic pending the culture results, which are usually available within two to three days. If you or a loved one is waiting for a culture and sensitivity report, keep asking for the results every day. You will then need to make certain that the doctor adjusts the antibiotic accordingly.