Simple Hand-Washing Can Prevent the Prevalence of Surgical Infections
Surgery always involves some level of risk. When faced with the necessity of an operation, a patient’s mind may flood with waves of concern about the work of the physicians. But the most dangerous part of an operation may not occur during the actual surgical procedure. According to a report by the health website, WebMD, a simple act of cleanliness could be the difference between a healthy surgical recovery and the onset of painful infection. The study found that anesthesiologists can maximize the safety of surgical patients by simply washing their hands more often.
The Importance of Washing Your Hands
The World Health Organization (WHO) observed the routine of anesthesiologists during basic surgeries. The researchers found that these pain relieving professionals had an average of 149 “hand hygiene opportunities” per hour of time they spent administering anesthesia. What does this mean? The WHO identifies five “hand hygiene opportunities”:
- Before touching a patient;
- Before a clean procedure;
- After exposure to bodily fluids;
- After touching a patient; and
- After touching a patient’s surroundings.
These occasions represent five separate chances for anesthesiologists to decrease the risk of spreading healthcare-related infections, simply by washing their hands. Unfortunately, according to the report, they are likely to not properly sanitize their hands during the first and last 20 minutes of patient contact. These findings reportedly correspond with additional study outcomes that show a higher level of bacteria on the 20 objects that are most commonly touched by an anesthesiologist during these periods of patient contact. While these professionals routinely wash their hands following exposure to bodily fluids, they are unlikely to do so during the period immediately prior to patient contact and after touching patient belongings.
The study authors were quoted in the article as stating, “New methods to reduce bacterial contamination of the anesthesia work environment are needed to prevent healthcare-associated infections.”
Prevalence and Prevention of Surgical Infections
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), surgical infections are common in the medical setting, resulting in the spread of health-care related infections. Approximately 150,000 occurrences happen inside of American hospitals each year. This reportedly accounts for about 1 to 3 incidents out of every 100 surgeries.
The CDC provides the public with numerous tactics for reducing the risk of surgical infections. Hand washing hygiene is on the list twice, demonstrating its effectiveness in preventing the spread of infection-causing bacteria. The agency advises patients suggests that patients ask their providers to wash their hands before conducting any procedures.
Surgery infections are serious conditions that can place additional suffering on patients who are already dealing with the pain from their operations and recoveries. Treatment options range from antibiotic medications to the possibility of additional surgeries. Failure to practice basic hand washing hygiene is an act of negligence that may result in an official finding of malpractice.
If you or a loved one contracted a surgical infection after an operation, call the experienced lawyers of Miami area Pita & Del Prado at 305-670-2889 for a free consultation. We have the knowledge and skill to aggressively advocate on your behalf.