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Hospital staff errors with gowns, gloves leads to contamination

For hospital staff who treat infectious patients, there are guidelines on the donning and doffing of personal protective garments like gowns and gloves. Healthcare workers in Florida should know about a new study that shows how the incautious removal and disposal of these garments can raise the risk for bacterial contamination. The study was conducted by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Researchers observed the actions of 125 healthcare workers, including 83 nurses and 24 doctors, as they treated 95 patients with contact precautions for antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA and Enterococcus. After six months of observation, researchers discovered that over one third of the healthcare workers had their garments or equipment contaminated with a multidrug-resistant organism.

Four had the organism on their hands, four on their clothes or jewelry, three on their stethoscopes and two on their in-hospital mobile phones. About 70 percent of equipment was contaminated, especially call buttons, blood pressure cuffs and other items that came in contact with patients.

Forty-nine of the workers committed an error during the donning and doffing of garments, despite the fact that 90 percent had been trained in these procedures in the past five years. Researchers said hand contamination is 10 times likelier when workers remove their gloves before their gowns; the CDC says gowns and gloves should be removed as a unit.

Hospital staff members can commit errors out of negligence, and these medical errors may lead to others being injured. Hospital patients or visitors who do suffer an injury may want to speak with a malpractice attorney about being compensated. Filing a malpractice claim against a hospital is not a light task, but the lawyer might hire investigators, medical experts and other third parties to help strengthen the case. With a lawyer, victims may strive for a fair settlement.

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