Sunday, November 15, 2009

Not On My Watch

Iatrogenic (caused be medical personnel) and nosocomial (obtained in the hospital) infections are unfortunately a sad reality in healthcare. When we visit the doctor, the last thing we want is to become more ill than our initial visit from an avoidable cause.

Healthcare Associated Infections

Hospitals are rightfully expected to get you better but that's not always the case. Sometimes people are picking up infections, from pneumonia to antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus (MRSA), while under treatment for other health problems, or even while just in the hospital having a baby. That's a situation that could, and should, be completely avoidable.

The fast pace medical environments such as clinics and hospitals make it easy to understand how healthcare professionals can facilitate the spread of infectious diseases from one patient to another. As simple as it is, hand washing is still one of the most effective means of reducing the spread of infection. Research has shown that alcohol based lotions equally accomplish the task in less time, hence the common practice of their use in medical facilities.

Healthcare associated infections not only have a significant financial impact on the medical system, but they are detrimental to the health of patients everywhere. The global campaign, "Not On My Watch" aims to educate healthcare providers how they can participate in reducing the spread of infection. If we all do our part, we can play an important role in the health of others and our own.

Board Prep Question of the Week


Five days after a mitral valve replacement, a 63 year old woman becomes hypotensive, tachycardic, and febrile. She is rushed to the CCU where an emergent transesophogeal echocardiogram shows multiple vegetations on the new mitral valve. Blood cultures are taken the patient is started on vancomycin and gentamycin. The initial Gram stain shows gram positive cocci. What additional bacterial characteristics are likely to be found?

A. Catalase negative with no hemolysis
B. Catalase negative with partial hemolysis and a positive quellung test
C. Catalase negative with partial hemolysis and no capsule
D. Catalase positive, coagulase negative
E. Catalase positive, coagulase positive

Answer & Explanation

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