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Incautious removal of hospital garments leads to contamination

In Oklahoma and elsewhere, healthcare workers who treat infectious patients may commit errors in the removal of personal protective garments like gloves and gowns, resulting in their clothes and equipment being contaminated by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is the conclusion of a study from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Researchers at that center observed 125 healthcare workers, including 83 nurses and 24 doctors, over six months as they treated patients in four adult intensive care units. The patients treated had contact precautions for bacteria like MRSA and Enterococcus. Researchers noted any errors in the donning and doffing of hospital gowns and gloves.

In the end, they discovered that one third of the workers acquired a multidrug-resistant organism with four experiencing contamination on their hands, another four on their clothes or jewelry and three on their stethoscopes. About 70 percent of environmental surfaces had organisms, especially blood pressure cuffs, call buttons and other items that were close to patients.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that gowns and gloves be removed as a unit; the study found that this does indeed reduce the risk for contamination. The workers in the study, on the other hand, would often make the mistake of removing their gloves before their gowns. The incautious rolling up and disposal of gowns was another issue.

Bacterial contamination at a medical center can lead to injuries. Those who believe that doctor negligence is to blame for their injuries may want to consult with an attorney who works in medical malpractice law. Victims might be reimbursed for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other losses, but it may be difficult to negotiate for a settlement with the other side. The attorney may speak on victims’ behalf, litigating if negotiations fail.