Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hospital Acquired Infections

If you go into an intensive care unit in a major Sydney hospital it is almost inevitable that you will get MRSA if you stay long enough."
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:

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.
Whilst this might all be sound advice my memory of hospitals is that acting like a demanding jerk might incur some risks of its own.

No comments: