The Main Stream

Jul 15, 2010 11:12 AM

Preventing hospital infections

The University of Miami is reinforcing patient care as it gives new medical residents important training before they touch any real patients.

"One of the most undesirable outcomes one can have is to either get an infection during their hospitalization or afterwards," said Anexis Lopez, a nurse at the University of Miami Hospital.

July is the month medical school graduates report to teaching hospitals like this one at UM. Infection control experts want to make sure the extra hands don't spread germs.

Also, employees and high risk surgical patients are swabbed to make sure they don't carry the dangerous MRSA bacteria, Lopez explained, "And we go ahead and treat the patients if they were to be positive to prevent them from getting a surgical site infection related to MRSA."

Residents also have to go through the patient safety training center to practice on mannequins with simulated medical problems

"Fifteen seconds after I got to the patient and I didn't wash my hands it's going to alarm and it's going to keep alarming every five seconds until I wash my hands. Big brother now knows who I am," said Dr. Birnbach, who leads the training.

If procedure is not followed, an alarm sounds, "When I do wash my hands, a rather pleasing bell goes off that tells the patient and the doctor that it's ok," Birnback said.

And according to the University of Miami, the measures have worked at its hospital to keep infection rates below the national level especially compared to other teaching hospitals.

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