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New Strategy to Eliminate Antibiotic-Resistant Microbes

Friday, December 20, 2013

The spread and growth of so-called “superbugs” that are resistant to most antibiotics on the market, is something that hospitals and California medical malpractice lawyers are concerned about. There are fears that the number of such superbugs are likely to actually increase in the future. This indicates that there is a need for new infection-fighting strategies that don't depend solely on antibiotic therapies. Recently, one such therapy was highlighted in the journal ACS Chemical Biology. According to the report, the technique fights off infection by interfering with the ability of the pathogen to take over patient body cells.

Health organizations have already warned that unless the spread of antibiotic-resistant germs is stopped, patients will continue to be at grave risk of potentially fatal infections. Those risks are especially high in hospitals, where you have patients with weak immune systems in close proximity to all kinds of bacteria.

Most pharmaceutical approaches to fighting infections involve fighting the bacteria. The researchers,in their new strategy, focused instead on how bacteria attack the cells that they invade. The research focused on host cell proteins called kinases that can control bacterial growth. The researchers also decided to look at another class of proteins called phosphatases that act differently from kinases, to see if inhibiting these proteins would have a similar effect. They identified drugs that could inhibit the operation of phosphatases.

They found that these drugs formed a new class of antibiotics, and actually stopped the bacteria from growing. What the technique basically did was to interfere with the operation of the host cell machinery, instead of directly attacking the microbes.

The researchers believe that the findings provide a firm basis for the development of new drugs that work to fight off infections.

Doctors Lag behind Nurses in Hand Hygiene Practices

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Appropriate hand hygiene is the most effective and established way to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections. There has been a concerted effort in recent years to get more medical personnel like doctors and nurses, to practice appropriate hand hygiene practices. However, new data seems to indicate that the doctors are falling behind nurses in hand hygiene practices.

The study was published recently in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. The researchers were looking at the effectiveness of education programs in helping raise hand hygiene rates in hospitals. The good news is that the data does show that there has been a significant improvement in the hand hygiene and hand washing rates among healthcare personnel. The researchers focused on 43 hospitals across five countries, and found that the education initiative has been successful in helping increase hand hygiene rates by as much as 16%.

However, there is plenty of room for improvement. The research seems to indicate that before the launch of the initiative, healthcare workers missed about 50% of the hand hygiene opportunities. After the program, they missed about one- third of the opportunities that they saw. That indicates that even though there has been some improvement, there can be further progressing increasing compliance rates for medical personnel.

The study also found that nurses seem to have the highest compliance rates on hand hygiene rules. Approximately 71% of the nurses complied with hand hygiene and hand washing rules before the program, and doctors have some of the lowest rates at 60%. Even after the program, nurses continued to have the highest compliance rates.

Patients Reluctant to Ask Medical Personnel to Wash Hands

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Patient participation is critical to increasing hand hygiene rates among medical personnel. In fact Arizona medical malpractice attorneys recommend that patients ask doctors and nurses to wash their hands before they attend to them. However, far too many patients fail to do so, and as a result, they could be exposed to the risk of a deadly infection.

According to a new study which has just been published in the Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, many hospital patients fail to ask medical personnel like doctors and nurses to wash their hands, even though they are aware that failure to wash hands can increase the risk of contracting a hospital-acquired infection.

The researchers focused on a total of 200 patients who had a history of deadly hospital-acquired infections including MRSA, clostridium difficile, and central line-associated bloodstream infections. Out of these patients, 99.5% confirmed that health care workers were required to wash their hands before and after attending to the patient. More than 90% of the people in the survey believed that patients should remind health care workers if they forget to wash their hands.

However, just about 64% said that they would remind nurses about washing their hands before inspecting them. The discomfort level seemed to be much higher where doctors were concerned. Only 54% of the people in the survey said that they would ask the doctor to wash his hands before checking on them. A minuscule 14% of the persons in the survey had ever bothered to ask a nurse or doctor to wash his hands before checking on them.

Patients need to be more proactive about their role in increasing hand hygiene compliance rates among health care personnel. It is one of your rights as a patient to demand that the doctor of the nurses attending to you scrub his hands clean first.

Ill Doctors Expose Patients to Risk of Infection

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Far too many doctors arrive to work even when they're suffering from symptoms of the flu. New research finds that more than half of doctors had worked or reported to work with symptoms of flu at least once over the previous 12 months.

The survey conducted by researchers at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found that 51% of resident physicians worked with symptoms of flu, while 16% of the physicians worked while sick on at least separate occasions over the past 12 months.

When asked why they reported to work, close to half of them said that a sense of duty and obligation forced them to return to work. Approximately 56% reported that they felt an obligation to patient care. The research has been published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The research focused on resident physicians, but researchers believe that the findings are probably applicable to all clinicians.

While Arizona medical malpractice lawyers appreciate the sense of responsibility that would induce a doctor to report to work even when he's not feeling 100%, it is very important for an ill doctor to understand that he is at a much higher risk of passing on his infection to patients who are already in a very vulnerable state.

Patients in a hospital have a weakened immune system, and may be at a much higher risk of contracting infections. Patients who already suffer from lung infections and other respiratory-related illnesses could be at a higher risk of complications when they are exposed to sick doctors.

The researchers recommend that doctors make sure that they have adequate numbers of staff who can cover for doctors on sick leave. It is also important that resident physicians are made to understand that reporting to work while sick may actually be adverse to patient safety.

Hospital Noise Risks Patient Safety

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

For many patients in a hospital, recovery is hampered by the constant beeps from alarms and monitors, and several other noises that intrude and make it difficult for patients to rest. Medical personnel for a very long time have dismissed the effects of such frequent noise in hospital rooms as being secondary to patient safety. However, there is reason for Arizona medical malpractice lawyers to believe that patient well-being is affected strongly by the amount of noise in a hospital room.

According to a study by the University Of Chicago, noise levels in the average hospital room are easily much higher than the 30 dB limit that is recommended by the World Health Organization. In fact, in some cases, these noise levels are almost equal to the kind of noise that is produced by a chainsaw.

Patients who are unlucky enough to be in the loudest of rooms suffered the most in terms of well-being and safety. They were unable to rest, and lost as much as an hour of sleep every night compared to patients who were in quieter rooms. The lowered rates of sleep did impact patient safety. For every hour of sleep that the patient lost, his blood pressure increased by as much as 6 points.

Another hospital study that was recently reported in the New York Times found that patients react differently to a number of different noises that they are exposed to in hospitals. These noises include everything from distractions between doctors and nurses, to ventilator and cardiac monitors and ringing telephones. The analysis found that patients react very strongly to ringing telephones and the noises of alarms and alerts. Every time they reacted strongly, their heart rate increased, and their well-being was threatened.

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