Thursday, March 26, 2009

Infectious Disease Specialist Leaves Province and People Really React, to the St. Pierre Seabed Rights story

Interesting. On March 24 news space was given to the urgent Infectious Disease Specialist void that now exists in the province - there were 11 comments. Today the France/St. Pierre seabed rights story has 300 comments so far. Looks like the political rows win over direct life and death matters.

Just to highlight the desperate Infectious Disease Specialist status, the last one has left the province. These are the people who when you are in hospital, weak from some illness, or from treatment or surgery, and are vulnerable to dying from an infection, are the people who will improve your chances of surviving. They do this by identifying the cause of the infection and treating it appropriately.

Hospital infections kill. "Each year, 220,000-250,000 hospital acquired infections result in 8,000-12,000 deaths" in Canada annually. Thirty to fifty per cent of these hospital-acquired infections are preventable. NL apparently does not know exactly how many die from infections while in hospital here, but auditor general John Noseworthy said NL lacks an infection control program.

It's not just specialists voids that are problematic. On prevention, people need to be aware of some basic infection avoidance habits. The auditor general reported last year that the four health boards were not required by the province to provide information on hospital-acquired infections.

A huge part of the solution is to learn as much as you can as a patient or potential patient about how to minimize the risks of infections, i.e., hand-washing, wearing masks, avoiding visitors with bugs, sanitizing things in the room that you will come in contact with. Keeping that gastrointestinal scope properly cleaned is up to hospital health workers.

One more suggestion, out of many to be sure, is for hospitals to provide isolation rooms or units for those who are high-risk to infection, e.g., those with weakened immune systems. A patient recovering from chemo or radiation for example, may have a near zero immune system, while people walking back and forth the corridors a few feet away are reacting to their own colds or flus, with coughs and sneezes. Patients could be given the option to wear masks, at least to be informed about it.

Providing literature about infection risk reduction is easy. Too bad getting a reaction to the Infectious Disease specialists crisis isn't as easy.


Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you on this one Charile, To many are walking out the Healthcare Door and noone walking back to replace them. We Need good Doctors in our System. There are a lot of NL's out there with problems and are still unsure what they have or got and with this news it will only add more stress to them.
It's sad to know our goverment will increase the nurses pay but let adr walk out the door and not do nothing. WHY DO WE PAY TAXES???

Great Story,
Lynn Osmond

Charles Cheeseman said...

Always a good question Lynn. Health care does indeed cost plenty, and it won't be getting any cheaper, rather it will be taking up a larger chunk of budgets. There are various ways to approach health funding. One is to plan a long-term health prevention education strategy, for example, cutting out harmful stuff in our lifestyles and diets that speed up our dates with the doctors. Our society is such a contradiction - we are constantly bombarded with messages to eat, drink, and make purchases that end up hurting us, and to a small degree (not enough) we are encouraged to avoid these certain foods. Governments can play a larger role in informing, prompting or directing people to be more knowledgeable of food ingredients. Only a few years back, trans fats were singled out as being directly related to heart disease, and now hardly a product has it. The question is, how many more harmful food ingredients are approved, and being consumed?

Thanks for your comment Lynn.

Winston Smith said...

Thanks for an informative post.

Charles Cheeseman said...

Appreciate your reading it Winston.