Archive for: June, 2009

Notes from the field: “Why are you standing on the ledge under the sink cabinet?”

By: June 16th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

As I was walking past an exam room last week during an inspection, I couldn’t believe what I seeing.

One of the medical assistants (MA) was too short to reach the wall mounted sharps container, so she opened the  under the sink cabinet door, stood on the ledge, reached up over her head, and put the used safety device in the sharps container.

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Weekly Poll: The future of H1N1

By: June 15th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the influenza pandemic alert to phase six, indicating the world is now at the beginning of the 2009 influenza pandemic.

Although the WHO considers the overall severity of the pandemic to be moderate, the organization is concerned about the pattern of serious cases and deaths, particularly among young, healthy adults. Additionally health experts are closely watching the southern hemisphere to see how the strain affects the traditional flu season. Many have said that combination of seasonal flu and H1N1 could create a more severe concoction.

What do you think?

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Just for laughs, what’s wrong with this picture?

By: June 15th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

A scrub team member wearing lime green Crocs with ventilation holes stands in a puddle of some nasty-looking fluid next to an operating room table.

Before that gets your OSHA and infection control hackles up, relax. It’s a cartoon, but one with more than just a little bit of truth to it.

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An interesting appeal process

By: June 12th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

After making the required changes and paying more than $31,000 in fines levied against them by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), UCLA has appealed state regulators’ findings regarding the fatal burning of a laboratory research assistant last year, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Way out-of-the-box thinking: Safety soda machines

By: June 11th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Safety training is wherever you can find it, or in some cases, wherever you can imagine it.

An article on the HealthLeaders Media web site looks at breaking free of the ubiquitous product placement presence of Coke and Pepsi on soda vending machines in lunch rooms and replacing it with something more useful, a safety message, perhaps.

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More unsafe injection aftermath in Vegas

By: June 10th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

In case you’ve been keeping up with the backlash following the unsafe injection practices that occurred in a Las Vegas clinic back in October 2008, there’s another chapter to this story.

The  Gastrointestinal Diagnostic Clinic, an  endoscopy clinic that was shut down after more than 105 cases of hepatitis C were traced back to the facility, is suing Dr. Scott Young, the anesthesiologist at the clinic, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Owners Drs. Luis Tupac, Uday Saraiya and Enrique Lacayo claim that Young is responsible for the clinic’s revoked license.

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A breathalyzer test for your hands

By: June 10th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

A new technology using the same sensors that detect alcohol on your breath, is being used to detect alcohol on your hands; except in this instance, the higher your level, the better.

HyGreen, which was developed by Dr. Richard J. Melker, a University of Florida College of Medicine anesthesiology professor, along with professors Dr. Donn Dennis, and Dr. Nikolaus Gravenstein, of the anesthesiology department, and Christopher Batich, a materials science professor in the College of Engineering, aims to not only help improve hand hygiene compliance, but also reduce HAIs.

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When healthcare workers fear for their own health

By: June 9th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

A thoughtful “Doctor and Patient” article by Pauline W. Chen, MD, in The New York Times, May 21, raises an issue that I think is never too far removed from the minds of healthcare professionals.

“I believe it’s a privilege, a calling, to take care of patients. And I believe that in deciding to practice medicine, I have consented to an unspoken contract with the public, one that requires that I take care of those who are sick. Lately, however, I have also begun to think that there is another side to that contract. Maybe there are obligations that the general public has to its health care workers,” writes Dr. Chen.

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Ask the expert—Even the OSHA boogeyman gets a bad rap, sometimes

By: June 8th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: My dental bill shows additional $10 fee (service code D9999 for “unspecified adjunctive procedure”). When I asked about it, the receptionist said: “Oh, that’s for the OSHA sterilization fee.” Did I just get ripped off?

A: You may not have been ripped off, but you certainly did not get an adequate explanation. Services that do not have a code receive the “99” designation, so it would appear ambiguous on your bill.

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Weekly poll: Concern for your safety

By: June 8th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

When you enter the healthcare profession, you recognize the risks of doing so. But occupational hazards are rampant in the healthcare industry, and many healthcare workers may not fully realize the risks they are taking until they are faced with a precarious situation.

In a recent New York Times article, one doctor explains her internal dilemma in caring for patients with potentially infectious diseases, particularly when she suffers a needlestick after caring for a patient with hepatitis C.

Which brings us to this week’s poll question:

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Notes from the field: “Your fire extinguisher is where!”

By: June 5th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

During my OSHA inspections, I always ask to see the fire extinguisher(s) so that I can verify the last inspection date.

Usually this is a simple process. I walk down the hallway and take a look at the fire extinguisher that is either hanging on the wall or in a recessed glass enclosure. Imagine my disbelief when the physician said he would “get it for me.”

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Preparing for an OSHA inspection

By: June 4th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

An OSHA inspection can come at any point, unannounced without any time for preparation. Maintaining a culture of safety in the laboratory will protect workers, most importantly, but it’s also helpful when OSHA decides to drop by.

But if OSHA ends up at your doorstep to inspect your laboratory, you should know what to do, and what not to do.

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