You’d think we’d know better.
All of us concerned friends and family, visiting sick relatives – and we’re helping to make them sicker.
We know they’re ill, right? That’s why they’re in hospital.
Where we know they’re vulnerable too.
It’s gonna be our fault
All those accident wounds and surgical cuts increase the risk of infection. Especially with so many antibiotic-resistant superbugs like MRSA on the rampage.
Right now ordinary operations like caesareans, chemotherapy, C-sections or biopsies are becoming impossible simply because the drugs don’t work any more.
On top of that there’s a whole witch-hunt going on that NHS hospitals are failing patients through an inadequate care.
And then we show up. Ordinary Tom, Dick and Harriet people – and probably the worst threat yet to catching germs in hospitals.
It’s easy to see why.
What sanitising station?
When we get to hospital, we go blundering in – hey, ho, here we go – what do you mean germs?
Yeah, well. If any doctors or nurses did that, they would get the chop. Busy like you can’t believe, but not one of them goes on duty without a good scrub-up.
They do it again between patients too – proper hot water, soap and brush, the full five-minute job. And with responsibilities pulling them every which way, they’re horrified if they ever get stampeded past it in the heat of the moment – but at least there’s sanitising gel stations everywhere.
Not like us.
There’s in-your-face sanitising stations everywhere you look in hospitals these days – but none of us seems to use them. Blind as a bat and full of ourselves, we never even know they’re there. With one or two exceptions of course – like grandma and grandad, worried about doing the right thing.
No, in we go – each trailing our bio-aura cloud of accompanying bacteria. Hands unwashed, untreated or anything. Straight off the street from whatever we were doing. Anything up to 10 million germs on each hand – dirt, food and faecal matter. Not a care in the world.
Then it’s hugs, kisses, holding hands, refilling the water glass. If we knew any nurses did that without washing their hands, we’d kick up stink all the way to Westminster.
But not us, we’re a law unto ourselves – and most of us never wash our hands anyway.
So is it any wonder that patients stay in longer and get complications – that Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) are on the up?
There’s the professional medics taking flak for lapses in procedure and hygiene – when all the time we’re this bunch of uncaring bozos, infecting the place left, right and centre and not even knowing that we’re doing it.
Check it out, it’s a hospital. Most of the time always meticulous about hygiene, guarding against germs and keeping things clean. Yes, there are lapses – as always when people are rushed off their feet, doing multiple jobs at once. Too many patients, too many complications, most of them from germs which WE put there.
And then there’s us.
Coats and scarves spread over the bed. Coughing and sneezing because it’s winter out there. Hands unwashed since breakfast or before – not even after the loo.
Filthy mitts (yes filthy because you can’t see germs, they’re too small) all over the high-touch areas that patients touch too – bedside cupboard, bed table, grab rails. Re-adjusting pillows that they’ll breathe into later, pulling up the blanket that their hands rest on, reading.
If matron had the slightest idea how we’re contaminating her patients, she sling us out on our ear.
She does of course, but she’s not allowed to. Misplaced courtesy and tolerance. Ideally, she would lock her patients away – restricted visitors – like in ICU. Not to penalise patients, but protect them from us – walking germ factories with our sloppy hygiene.
Think we’re kidding? Hospitals are where people are already down, resistance low from whatever their condition. Any hole, any incision, the slightest break in the skin and they’re vulnerable to infection.
And have they got holes. Wounds from surgery, tubes, pipes, wires into the body – even a simple drip puts a cannula on their wrist.
You can see it happening, can’t you. Tolerant Mum with her newborn second, letting her first-born explore all the tubes. Germs straight in, intravenously. Whoops – staphylococcus aureus, or a urinary infection. Another week in hospital. More headlines about inadequacy.
Unclean like the plague
Yeah, we’re bad. So bad we shouldn’t be allowed in.
Not without a facemask and hands gelled so they show up under UV light – just like getting into nightclubs. No stamp on your wrist, you can’t come in. No glow on your hands, stay out of the ward.
But it won’t happen, will it? We already don’t wash our hands and then wonder why we get gastro after eating a burger. The penny never drops.
And so we go on. Visitor monsters.
Do we have to become patients ourselves to learn about proper hygiene?
Originally posted 2015-10-16 14:00:26.