Skip to comments.New study says preventive antibiotics may stave off deaths
Posted on 01/01/2009 11:28:27 AM PST by CE2949BB
Giving antibiotics to patients in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) to prevent rather than fight bacterial infections may reduce the number of patient deaths, Dutch scientists report today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Despite the findings, some researchers remain skeptical whether the possible risks (most notably spurring new antibiotic resistant germs) outweigh the benefits of plying patients with antibiotics instead of using other more benign strategies such as hand-washing, isolating contagious patients and scrubbing hospitals with antiseptic cleansers.
(Excerpt) Read more at sciam.com ...
You mean if they decide to do A they can't continue to do B?
The problem is that hospitals have NOT been doing "B". A 2007 New Hampshire study found that 31% of health care workers do not wash their hands. The state has started a "Hand Hygiene Training & Competency" campaign in which "All new and current patient care staff members and physicians will be trained in hand hygiene and are required to demonstrate competency."
Well, that should be easy to fix. Just put up those signs you see above the sinks in Taco Bells. You know, the ones that remind the worker bees to wash their hands.
I had to spend a lot of time in hospitals to watch over family members over the years. The hand washing is deplorable, and that’s when someone is watching. Most staff changing beds, cleaning rooms, etc. are not careful and I recall years ago reading a report that a lot of the staph lives in the hospital curtains which they rarely wash!
My husband had some surgery about two years ago and was given antibiotics before hand. I would say that is the smart way to go. I wouldn’t call it, as the author does “plying them with antibiotics”. I call it smart medicine.
I can tell you this will never work.
My wife works as a Respiratory Therapist part time.
Protocols require that you wash your hands when entering a patients room donning a new set of rubber gloves and when leaving the room you remove the rubber gloves you again wash your hands.
On a busy day she may have 14 patients checking on some of them every hour.
She may wash her hands 90 or more times a day.
Even in the height of summer doing this one day a week her hands are raw at the end of a 12 hour shift. Imagine how bad her hands are when she does three or four 12 hour shifts a week as a full time therapist.
My wife is meticulous about following protocol but believe me I dont believe for a moment that all of the full timers are, they couldnt be. If they were there would be a lot of cronically bleeding hands in the health care industry.
More and more, I’m coming to the conclusion that what is needed *isn’t* to try and achieve a sterile environment. That to do so is risking disaster by making an opening for pathogens to become increasingly virulent and strike.
Are you aware that the majority of your organic body weight isn’t actually “you”? It is microorganisms. They weigh more than the cells of your body. Inside and out, we are a great walking mass of bacteria and viruses.
And it isn’t just quantity, but quality, as well. Only in the last few years have scientists even tried to calculate how many different lifeforms exist in the typical human intestines. They gave up counting at well over 200 distinct and different kinds.
And healthy intestinal flora is essential for you to even digest your food. It also has a strange relationship with a whole range of immune system disorders, from asthma to arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome to Lupus.
When some people have their intestinal flora damaged by strong antibiotics, chemicals, radiation, etc., in rare cases, doctors use a “fecal transplant” from a healthy person, to help reestablish healthy flora. This involves drinking a “chocolate shake”, literally, but I won’t go into details.
Even on the skin, which is normally covered by a layer of bacteria, there is considerable variation on the same person. A balance between healthy and pathogenic bacteria changes radically in the “coliform zone” between about the knees and the navel, to have much more “bad” bacteria. And touching this skin is a good reason to wash your hands after going to the bathroom, even if there is no other contamination.
So translate this to hospitals. What, if after scrubbing down, a surgeon was to actually contaminate his hands with a very harmless bacteria? The idea being that it would “block” the arrival and growth of harmful bacteria.
I once read a stat that 31% of women and 52% of men do not wash their hands after going to the bathroom.
Not sure if the stats are exact but makes you think before taking that plastic coffee stirrer out of the cup at the office.
Yeah good hand washing and other good technique is crucial. A big part of this is we need to return to the basic principles set down by Lister and other pioneers in the 19th century. Hospitals should be full of surfaces you can CLEAN. Stainless steel, tile, painted walls etc. NO carpet, drapes, cloth chairs etc etc etc. It’s NOT a hotel. If need be they should be able to clean every surface with steam.
Overuse/over-prescription of common antibiotics over the years has lead to their ineffectiveness.
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