Hospital-acquired infections have once again found a place in the news. Thirty-two individuals are reported to have been infected by a number of different drug-resistant strains of bacteria through contaminated endoscopes. Eleven of these patients have died, but due to their prior severe illnesses it is unclear whether or not the new infections played any role. The endoscopes in question are called duodenoscopes and are used to treat liver and pancreas illnesses. They are professionally sterilized to high standards between patients, which has unfortunately turned out to no longer be adequate.
The disinfection procedures that the manufacturers recommended were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but after the hospital was able to identify the sterilized scopes as the source of infection they had to switch to a method that exceeded the national standards. The FDA is working with the endoscope suppliers and medical centers to develop new solutions, but this is not the first time scopes have been identified as a source of nosocomial infections. Pittsburgh in 2012 and Chicago in 2014 both saw hospital-acquired infections due to contaminated endoscopes, but luckily there were no fatalities.
The most well-known hospital-acquired infection is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. MRSA originated in the hospital setting, but has expanded to locker rooms, livestock, prisons, military barracks, and homeless shelters. Since many of the individuals infected have weakened immune systems they are already at a greater risk of nosocomial infections. In addition, MRSA’s resistance to certain antibiotics (like penicillins and cephalosporins) make it very difficult to treat.
One of the drug resistant strains of bacteria responsible for the infections in Seattle include Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE). Two examples of CRE include Klebsiella species and Escherichia coli (E. coli). While these are normal human gut bacteria, they can cause infection in those undergoing invasive treatments due to illness (like the endoscopes) or those that are taking long courses of antibiotics. Many strains of CRE have become resistant to most of the available antibiotics, making them especially deadly.
How can you protect yourself from hospital-acquired infections, like MRSA and CRE? Most of the prevention is done by the hospital – sterilizing equipment, using appropriate isolation procedures, washing hands, wearing gloves, sanitizing surfaces, wearing aprons while treating patients, and even using antimicrobial surfaces like copper bedrails. For patients that want to protect themselves there is a list of questions you can ask your healthcare provider that is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.patientcarelink.org/uploadDocs/1/Massachusetts-Consumer-HAI-Basics.pdf
Dr. Robert Dean visits The Philippines with The Starkey Hearing Foundation on a mission to help survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, and provide hearing aids to children in need.
Tampa, FL (PRWEB) December 05, 2013
It has been nearly a month since the devastating Typhoon Haiyan hit the islands in the Philippines, but the long-term recovery has just begun. Dr. Robert Dean of Tampa, Florida has partnered with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to join in the relief efforts. He left on November 28th to join the foundation on a previously planned mission to fit over 5,000 deaf children with hearing aids, but the trip now has an even broader relief objective.
The partnership between Dr. Dean and the Starkey Hearing Foundation formed through Dr. Dean’s passion for making people healthier across the globe. His over 20-year medical experience has led him to study cholera, treat post-travel illnesses, and conduct research on women with HIV in Mexico. Dr. Dean also runs a foundation focused on conserving the world’s natural eco-systems and improving the quality of life in rain forest regions by increasing sustainability through improved social and economic infrastructure.
“When I agreed to go on a volunteer trip for the Starkey Hearing Foundation several weeks ago, I had no idea how dramatically circumstances there were about to change,” said Dr. Dean. “I had already booked my trip when Haiyan struck and devastated the islands. Those who were lucky enough to survive are in dire need of basic aid such as food, water, and shelter – resources that are scarce if available at all. I feel privileged to play a small part in helping the local population together with Starkey.”
Dr. Dean intends to post updates during his travels from November 29th – December 12th. Please visit http://www.doctorrobertdean.com for his latest blog entries and to learn more about Dr. Dean. He is also encouraging others to support the efforts in the Philippines by donating here:
More about the Starkey Hearing Foundation: The Foundation donates and fits more than 100,000 hearing aids annually. As a member of President Clinton’s Global Initiative, Starkey has pledged to fit one million hearing aids this decade. In addition to giving the gift of hearing through worldwide hearing missions, the Starkey Hearing Foundation also promotes hearing health awareness and education through the Listen Carefully initiative and provides hearing instruments to low-income Americans through the Hear Now program.
When I agreed to go on a volunteer trip for the Starkey Hearing Foundation several weeks ago, I had no idea how dramatically circumstances there were about to change. I had already booked my trip when Typhoon Haiyan struck and devastated the islands. As we watch the rising death toll in the Philippines, it is clear that our mission’s intention to fit over 5,000 hearing aids for deaf children will no longer be our only objective. The hardest hit central islands are completely devastated and those who were lucky enough to survive are in dire need of basic aid such as food, water, and shelter – resources that are scarce if available at all. Check back here often, as I’ll be posting updates, photos and videos from my travels from November 29th through December 12th.
You can help support our efforts in The Philippines
Learn how you can support Dr. Dean’s mission on behalf of the Starkey Foundation.
Dr. Dean is visiting the Philippines after Thanksgiving for a two-week mission with the Starkey Hearing Foundation. The Foundation fits and gives more than 100,000 hearing aids annually, and as a member of President Clinton’s Global Initiative, it has pledged to fit one million hearing aids this decade. In addition to giving the gift of hearing through worldwide hearing missions, Starkey Hearing Foundation promotes hearing health awareness and education through the Listen Carefully initiative and provides hearing instruments to low-income Americans through the Hear Now program.
The trip of course comes at a time of critical need for the Philippines as the island nation seeks to recover from the devastating Typhoon Haiyan.
To support Starkey, click Dr. Dean’s personal fundraising page: