Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hospital infections

Not so long ago a friend of mine, an active young lady who tore her meniscus during some games was operated on in one of our major hospitals. What started as a simple surgical procedure, turned out to be a painfully distressing, protracted and expensive journey because she picked up a septic arthritis following the operation. What was worst for her was the callous way the hospital shrugged off the incident as part of the risks of surgery.

Really? Should it be part of the accepted risks of surgery?

I was bemused by the letter that appeared in today's Straits Times from Drs Lee and Hsu from the Society of Infectious Diseases, Singapore vigorously defending the hospitals' efforts in this direction. I was curious about the society because I didn't know of it's existence, so I looked them up online. (BTW, The SID ought to know that their website hasn't been updated since 2007). The membership of the SID really comprises the Infectious Disease consultants I know in the hospitals. :)

Anyway, I am glad they responded. They are right of course in pointing out that Denmark took 10 years and UK took 4 years. They are also right in that we can't expect to turn this around overnight.

My question to SID is: So why are we waiting? We were aware of this problem 10 years ago. When did we actually make this 'commendable start', and this 'move to share data and knowledge'? How do we actually share data when we are tip toeing around hospital sensitivities about who is doing better and who's worse, and case-mix ratios and what not?

Can we move a bit faster please, and take some definitive concrete action? We don't really want to wait another 10 years to actually start.

No comments: