Richard West, chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons infection control advisory committee.
I doubt that many of you read a Sunday paper any more. I can't say I blame you, most of them are pretty dire. Amongst the worst parts is the awful 'Parade' magazine that is a supplement carried by a large number of papers throughout the country. However it is so bad that it is usually worth reading and it always contains at least one splendidly awful advertisement - many of them from the Franklin mint where parody is indistinguishable from their usual tastelessness. But anyhow I digress, this week's parade (I only read it for the ads) contains a feature article 'Avoiding Hospital Mistakes' with a section on Hospital Acquired Infections:
The Risk: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 99,000 patients a year die from hospital-borne infections. Germs are everywhere: on surfaces, doorknobs—even your doctor’s necktie.
What You Can Do:
- Ask anyone who examines you to wash his hands.
- Ask your doctor or nurse to clean her stethoscope before it comes in contact with your skin.
- If you need a urinary catheter, make sure it is kept in for the shortest possible time.
- If you need a “central line” (an IV tube going into a major blood vessel), ask if they have tubes that are coated with antibiotics.
- If you have an IV, make sure it doesn’t stay in place for more than a week. Let the nurses know if it becomes loose.
- Every time a line or regular IV needs to be inserted, ask whether the hospital staff follows sterile procedures before inserting the tube or needle.