Monday, October 12, 2009

Should patients get scrubbed when they get admitted to the hospital?

Infection control is a really hot issue these days. A big part of the reason is because we've seen an increase in multi-drug resistant organisms causing serious life-threatening infections in the hospital. Some examples include MRSA, VRE, and others. So why are we seeing these superbugs? One reason is because antibiotics are overused. Patients are developing superbugs because they may take antibiotics when they don't really need them.

Should patients get scrubbed from head-to-toe when they get admitted to the hospital? Have you ever scrubbed for the OR (operating room)? Would you want to take one of those sponges and scrub your entire body with it? I don't think so.What if patients are colonized with a superbug? MRSA is in the community. Could they transmit these organisms to someone else? Certain sections of hospitals (such as bone marrow transplant centers) are full of patients who are seriously immunocompromised. A mild skin infection could be lethal to someone who has a weakened immune system.

Soon, we'll be irradiating patients to sanitize them before they enter the hospital. That's the future of medical technology in hospitals. We just need hundreds of CT scanners built into the hospital admission area of every hospital. Would you sanitize someone if you passed them through a CT scanner multiple times? I'm sure radiologists will love the increased volume of CT scans and pathologists will love to biopsy all the incidentalomas we find.

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