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Why is there a danger of infaction in the Operating room and how is it prevented?

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May 01, 2007 9:36AM

ANY TIME YOU HAVE SURGERY, AND THEY OPEN YOU UP AND EXPOSE TISSUE, there is a chance of picking up infection. Most operating rooms are fairly well cleaned and doctors and nurses are careful to disinfect their hands etc... It's nearly impossible to make everything in the O.R. completely sterile. However, once you are out of surgery, and your incision is healing and being tended to, I believe that is when people end up with infection. Surfaces, utensils, and everything you touch and nurses touch are no where as clean as the O.R. Also, staff tend to forget and/or get lazy and don't wash their hands and be as careful as they should be. A perfect example is when my wife was going to the hospital for chemotherapy. The oncologist (cancer doctor) and most of the nurses were very careful and professional when attending to her. One day,, while we were sitting in the waiting room of the oncology ward, (loaded with germs!) an ONCOLOGY REGISTERED NURSE came in to tend to my wife's I.V., (remember, people being treated for cancer have lowered immune systems), and did something that blew my mind. As she was putting on her exam gloves (boxed, not wrapped in plastic and sterile), she dropped one glove on the floor of the waiting room, I watched as she PICKED IT OFF THE FLOOR, and started to put it on!! I had to interupt her, and ask her to please discard the dropped one, and use a clean one! THEN, instead of saying something like, "Oh I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking", she said "well, they are not STERILE anyway". She then discarded the dropped glove, and took a clean one out of the box, and continued her job. I work in healthcare, and if I had dropped a glove, in that situation, where the floor is not the cleanest place, not only would I have IMMEDIATELY discarded the dropped glove, I would have taken an extra 60 seconds and washed my hands also! (Remember, everyone there has compromised immune systems!) The hospital is highly rated, and very well run, but I still watched all the staff like a hawk. BELIEVE ME, it took a lot of restraint on my part not to SNAP and report that nurse. So, even in the best situations, people get careless, and sometimes forget the most basic rules of infection control. I believe that is when most of the germs are spread and patients pick up infections. I continued to stay with my wife every minute she was in the hospital, and when she had to be admitted overnight or for a couple of days, I made it quite clear that I was not leaving her there alone, and slept each night in the bed next to her. I strongly believe that anyone in the hospital is at the mercy of the staff, and need someone there as a patient advocate....Over the approx. 6 months that she was in and out of the hospital, I picked up ONE MEDICATION ERROR and MORE THAN ONE procedural errors. Not one staff, including the doctors and administration had the NERVE to tell me that I couldn't spend the nights, and sit by her side like white on rice. One last thing; nurses and doctors are only human and make mistakes. If your loved one is ever hospitalized, DON"T BE AFRAID to ask questions, and speak up any time you think policy and procedure is not being followed to the T. It could very well save their life.