Have a Story to Tell? Had a medical error?

This blog is about patient safety, medical malpractice, staying healthy, and preventing future errors. Help & empower someone else, Teach a lesson, Bear witness, Build our community - Email us or call 781-444-5525.

Frustrated with a health problem?

Need an ally in your health crisis? Call 781-444-5525, or learn more.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

He had to be re-admitted: Rep. John Murtha's hospital acquired infection

U.S. Representative John Murtha, Chairman of the House military appropriations committee, is recuperating in the intensive care unit after a surgical infection from his gallbladder surgery. He'd had laparoscopic surgery to remove the gallbladder in late January, and had to be re-admitted to a hospital because of the infection.

He was in grave condition following the hospital infection. Now the infection is responding to antibiotics, and the condition of the 77-year-old congressman has been improving.

Nurses should provide antibiotics before surgery (prophylactic antibiotics) to prevent surgical infections, but don't always do so. A surgical checklist should remind nurses and doctors about the antibiotics, but checklists are not always used.

Advice to patient advocates of patients undergoing surgery: Ask the surgeon beforehand if he or she uses a checklist. If you don't hear Yes, choose another surgeon. If they don't use a checklist, or if they bristle at the question, that might indicate arrogance that can intimidate their clinical teammates into silence when a surgical error is about to occur.

Read other surgical infection stories. Thanks to Carol D. Leonnig and Paul Kane for their background article in the Washington Post of Feb. 3.

No comments: