Sunday, February 12, 2012

Infectious Disease

One of the perks of emergency medicine, OBGYN and surgical rotations is wearing scrubs to work. Between these specialties and vacation it has been a year since I last wore a dress shirt and tie on my rotations. Despite being a little less comfortable, it brings a different sense of professionalism to the game.

Avoiding Disease

Currently rotating on a medicine specialty, infectious disease, I am learning more than ever before, the importance of antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and antiparasitic medications. I knew there was a lot to know before, but I am now reminded of that fact where it counts, at the bedside. Every day we round on patients who have serious infections including tuberculosis, HIV, meningitis and more. When the patient's infection fighting army can no longer handle the battle, we are called in to bring the reserve armory. Donning special masks, gowns and gloves protects both the patient and ourselves from the exchange of harmful bugs during discussion and examination.

Washing hands is a necessity and stethoscopes are cleaned routinely on this service. If we are not careful, we can be the source of somebody's newest infection at which point it doesn't matter what your tie looks like -- keeping it secured is not a bad idea so it's not dragging through the patient's wounds and dressings. Medicine is a lot like figuring out a good puzzle, both in making a diagnosis and providing the right treatment regimen. Infectious disease aims to find the perfect medication for the job so we are not firing shotguns at thumbtacks every time building resistance to the arsenal we have available. It is a thought provoking field that can have a significant impact on patient outcomes as long as we don't let the disease bug them too much.

Question of the Week
Which of the following drug classes is responsible for both nephrotoxicity and ototoxicity?

A. Carbapenems
B. Penicillins
C. Tetracyclines
D. Aminoglycosides
E. Quinolones

Answer & Explanation

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