New Bacteria On The Scene

November 20, 2008
Courtesy of

Courtesy of

A bug responsible for 30% of resistant infections worldwide is on the rise according to this article.

Acinetobacter baumanniiis more resistant than the MRSA superbug and accounts for about 30 percent of drug-resistant hospital infections, said Matthew Falagas, director of the Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Greece.

What is the way to stop it?

Washing the dry surfaces in hospitals and something you’ve probably read before…

Washing hands.

Surgeons Not Following Infection Control Procedures

November 17, 2008

This article recently came out showing that surgeon’s aren’t following guidelines in doing their part to minimize infections.

Alberta surgeons aren’t always following guidelines aimed at minimizing the risk patients will develop an infection as a result of their surgery, a new survey reveals.

And experts in infection control and health-care safety say the findings are probably reflective of surgical practice in other parts of the country as well.

“We have a long ways to go. It’s really hit or miss right now whether or noty ou’re going to get all these things done properly,”; said Marlies van Dijk, a nurse and leader of the Western Canada efforts of Safer Healthcare Now!, a campaign to promote practices that improve patient safety.

“We know that we ought to be doing better,” said Dr. Andrew Simor, head of microbiology at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

If you’re going in for surgery, print this page out and bring it to your doc and nurses.

CareFlash – More Than a Flash in the Pan

November 14, 2008


When friends or family end up in the hospital, it’s often difficult to know what to do, what the problems are, who will visit whom when.

CareFlash is a great site that helps educate and coordinate the experience when a loved one ends up in a hospital.

CareFlash provides a common place on the Internet, to and from which people may submit, retrieve and share information and well-wishes surrounding a loved one’s health circumstances. In the respective context of each community, we serve-up hundreds of 3-D healthcare animations on disorders, procedures and anatomical function, all produced with world-class quality and accuracy, and narrated in plain language. The animations are also available in Spanish and Arabic with more languages to come in 2008.

Best of all, it’s free. Check it out!

First MRSA, Now C.-diff….

November 12, 2008
Smear of C.-diff

Smear of C.-diff

Not totally a shock to those who follow the infection scene.   According to Lisa McGiffert, Director of Consumers Union’s Stop Hospital Infections Campaign (

“Health care consumers need to be aware that most U.S. hospitals are not consistently following basic infection control practices against C.-diff..  Patients are already having to remind doctors to wash their hands, but they shouldn’t have to bring bleach with them to make sure their rooms are clean. Hospitals need to make sure that rooms are properly disinfected and that staff are following strict infection control practices at all times.”

I’ve heard stories of C.-diff living on EKG (heart monitoring) leads for a month.  As the rest of the room around them was cleaned thoroughly the patients being admitted to the room kept getting reinfected.

Learn about this bacterium.  It’s on route to becoming the next superbug.

Going High Tech to Stop Infections

November 10, 2008

Dr. Carmeli

Dr. Carmeli

According to HealthNewsDigest, Prof. Yehuda Carmeli of Tel Aviv University, has developed a software system that help healthcare workers control and prevent infections in hospitals.  Says Prof. Carmeli:

“We stopped 45 percent of the primary hospital-borne organisms that attack patients from spreading.”

The system uses such things as e-mail alert, text messaging and other methods of online communication to keep the hospital staff appraised of possible infection threats within the hospital.

Because of the success he’s had, Prof. Carmeli has been invited to demonstrate his system at various institutions around the US.

Hospitals Get Low Marks From Patients

November 4, 2008

In the first ever National Survey on patient perspectives on hospital care, the hospitals in the US received less than glowing marks on the whole.  Where were some key areas that needed improvement? Pain management and discharge instructions. 

I was somewhat surprised that people were not pleased by how they received the discharge instructions.  Perhaps I’m more surprised that hospitals don’t do a better job of taking care of this.  After all, it’s the hospital’s way of sending the patient off on the right foot and hopefully keeping them from coming back.

Unfortunately, I’m not surprised at all that patients were upset with pain management techniques.  This seems to be a common thread in US Healthcare.

What grades would you give the hospitals you’ve been in?

Great Resource, Check this place out!

November 3, 2008

I was looking through some research and came across this site again.  Bookmark it and download their information.  Very worthwhile and excellent info for you and your loved ones.

Nose Swabbing Not All That

November 1, 2008


Researchers are finding that nose swabbing to look for the MRSA superbug isn’t super effective at minimizing hospital infection.

Little wonder in some ways.  Since hospitals will most likely be punished in the future if someone gets an infection they didn’t have when they came in, the process of nose swabbing may have more to do with saving money than saving lives.

The solution, say researchers, is to implement more broad based infection control measures.

A New Use for Sharpie’s

October 31, 2008
The Mighty Sharpie!

The Mighty Sharpie!

You know, those permanent markers that cost a couple of bucks?  Spend those couple of dollars for insurance purposes if you go into the hospital.  This article shows that the because the ink in Sharpies is alcohol based it stays clean of infection.  So here are some tips for using the Sharpie next time you go to a hospital:

  • If you’re having surgery on part of your body, mark it with the Sharpie as a reminder of where to cut.  Statements like, “This is the bad foot,” while sounding funny, are actually a good way of reminding the docs where to cut.
  • Writing a little note like, “Swab my port,” if you have an IV line or, “Wash your hands,” somewhere on your arm will remind a nurse or doc to wash up before they touch you.

The Family as Partner in Healthcare

October 30, 2008

This is a great way to start my new blog.  This article hits the nail right on the head.

Especially important is the fact that families are also partners in care, not just customers. According to Beverly Johnson, the president of the nonprofit institute for Family-Centered Care:

“Families are allies and partners for safety and quality.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.