Avoiding medical mishaps and health hazards

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Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 6:15 pm | Updated: 6:32 pm, Tue Feb 11, 2014.

Hospitals have certain protocols in place to protect you from medical mishaps including infections, and, there are steps you can take to help yourself.

What concerns medical professionals about your stay in the hospital?

Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Alan Valadie performs mainly hip and knee replacement surgery, he says protective routines start with patients. "One of the things that we all worry about is infection, anytime we make an incision and cut into somebody we worry about infection, it can be a disastrous complication in things like I do." He explained, "We have patients use antiseptic soap for bathing two days before surgery, one day before surgery, and the day before surgery, so clearly there's things that you can do."

Protocol to protect Suncoast patients from infection is high on the list at Blake Medical Center said David Grohs, RN. How surgical equipment arrives is out of the hands of the patient and into those of medical professionals he said.

"They come in a sterile package and, we keep a large inventory here for that purpose." He added. "We process our instruments, and we do some re-processing of blood-pressure cuffs, things like that."

Staph infection causing bacteria is always a concern in hospitals.

"We screen a lot of our pre-op patients for MRSA, which is an infection that a lot of people can have and not even realize it." Said Sally Malacarne, RN.

Patients that are carriers can be treated prior to hospitalization so they don't spread the infection. Malacarne expanded, "We don't reuse anything, we don't reuse needles obviously, everything is sterile to begin with, it's a one time patient use."

Everything is monitored in the central supply center.

Grohs said, "Our sterilizers are all monitored with chemical indicator's and special tests that are run on every load to assure sterility."

Dr. Valadie said "Being prepared both mentally and physically impacts not only recovery time from surgery, But also your chance of fighting off an infection if you do get one."

Keeping sick relatives and friends away helps and hand washing is most important.

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