Maureen Dowd shares the sad loss of her brother with the world and tries to make sense of how patients in hospitals get infections and actually die from these infections.
As astounding as this fact is…sadly it is true…hospitals sometimes do harm.
If you actually think about it, where is it that you visit…where so many are suffering from an illness and many from infections that are life threatening?
It is no wonder that short hospital stays are recommended and demanded by health insurance companies. The shorter the better, in my opinion.
As a nurse and social worker, I can attest to the fact that ‘handwashing’ is at the top of the list when it comes to prevention. This means HANDWASHING is the first line of defense when it comes to stopping the spread of germs in a hospital.
I began my career in healthcare prior to the HIV/AIDS epidemic so universal precautions were unheard of…handwashing was THE most important means of prevention. Gloves were used in the OR and when performing procedures that required them. In general, we were not afraid of blood and body fluids transmitting something deadly unless the patient was already diagnosed with hepatitis or some other transmittable disease or had high risk behaviors for exposure to hepatitis.
This fear of ‘catching’ something is not the primary reason for handwashing. The primary reason is to keep the patient from getting a hospital infection. Many of these infections are costly and can be deadly to someone who is already sick. Because many times a patient is already compromised from illness or from undergoing a surgical procedure they are more susceptible to these germs that are lurking literally on everything especially on our hands.
So if you are a patient or your loved one is a patient please feel free to make sure you wash or ‘Purell’ your hands s and everyone that is involved in the care of you or your loved one does the same.
Remember…gloves are not a replacement for handwashing… EVER.