Information and Resources for People Having Surgery
I’ve done a lot of research since I became infected with MRSA. I worked with HHS Partnership for Patients and my hospital to examine the possible sources of infection in the operating room with the goal of preventing future patients from becoming infected with MRSA. We developed several tools to help prevent contaminants from entering the operating room (i.e. patent prep, hand washing. Limiting O.R. traffic, etc.). Fortunately, there are government agencies monitoring these basic, important guidelines.
How do the particles get from the floor to the wound?
During our study, we had a hard time determining how the particles (that we know are on the floor) reach the surgical wound. I've read about 20 published articles since our research and there appears to be a previously unrecognized mode of transport for infection-causing bacteria: hot air from forced-air patient warming units.
If your hospital is choosing to use forced-air warming, maybe it's time to look for a hospital that doesn't use that."
Don't just say 'they're a good hospital, they know what they're doing, they only have a 0.5 or 0.01 rate of infection.' Remember, you don't want to be the .01. I didn't want to be the .01, but I didn't know."
Infection-causing bacteria are prevalent in the healthcare setting and the key is keeping them away from the surgical wound and other susceptible areas. Infection control protocols are designed to significantly reduce the chances for infections. Government agencies monitor many of these procedures. It is nearly impossible to determine exactly how that bacteria got into the wound unless an egregious error occurs.
What fascinates me about new research studying the unintended consequences of forced-air warming is two-fold:
Why take the chance of getting an infection? I wish I had known what I know today. Do your own research and ask questions!
Resources and Links
Do your own research and ask questions!
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons:
Joint Replacement Infection information
Partnership for Patients,
Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (aggregate of SSI resources, including links to CDC and IHI pages on the topic)
APIC's Guide to the Elimination of Orthopedic Surgical Site Infections
Rosie's Story with Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Institute for Healthcare Improvement information on Surgical Site Infections