Teaching the ER people about being sterile

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Okay I've been watching past eppies of ER on TNT and after a bloody trauma when the patient gets sent upstairs, the docs and nurses just thorw their bloody gloves and gowns on the floor of the trauma room and leave. Do real ER docs do that? Leave their messes to poor housekeeping? -Reggie

-- Reggie (CotysNyx@aol.com), February 21, 2001


I hope they don't really do that! "ER" staff are also famous for touching things- doors, drawers, each other- w/ bloody gloves on. Yuck. Biohazard.

-- Maureen (shepcaff@ix.netcom.com), February 21, 2001.

At the hospital where I work, even the volunteers (who are never in contact with blood or human waste) are taught to constantly wash their hands before and after touching just about anything. --Katy

-- Katy (katyap@hotmail.com), February 21, 2001.

I worked in the ED for a year and in the OR for 4 years. No doctor would ever DARE drop that stuff on the floor. In particularly busy cases some things get thrown on the floor, IV tubing caps, needle caps, ect. A lot of the little stuff stays on the bed, we've had car wreck guys come up to the OR with a lot of that stuff still in the sheets, it goes flying when you start stripping and prepping. If it's a crash-type surgery (he's dying or DOA and they're trying to save him for the harvest team) a lot of it stays in the bed till you clean him up for recovery or the morgue.

There's always one person who writes down everything that they're doing on the chart while they're doing it, usually an RN. When I was doing that I always tried to pick up a little or at least move things out of the way so people wouldn't trip.

A lot of huge trauma rooms (and all the ORs I've been in) have wet-vacs in the wall. Housekeeping comes in and tries to pick up the little stuff then they pour cleaning solution all over the floors and wet vac them up. They can have those rooms spotless in less than 5 minutes.

-- jc (jcole@austin.rr.com), February 22, 2001.

In the ED where I work, not only do the doctors and nurses wear full sterile gear (gowns, gloves, safety glasses and masks, not those silly yellow things - those look like they'd protect you from a good sneeze and not much else) any time a trauma case comes in, but they're fanatics about stuff on the floor. Things like instrument wrappers and caps are one thing, but if you should drop something sharp and some poor Environmental Services tech gets stuck as a result, there's hell to pay. Plus, if you've got a really messy trauma like that, someone ought to be keeping an instrument count, and that's rather difficult to do if people are throwing debris left and right.

While I admit that our MDs aren't as good about handwashing as I'd like, the nurses and practice assistants are all very careful to wash up before and after any procedure. The same goes for volunteers; for example, we can't take blood draws, but we do courier samples up to the labs if they won't go in the tube carrier, and we always wear gloves when handling the lab box (even though all the containers are sealed) and wash our hands as soon as we're back in the department. It's just a good idea.

-- Lindsay E. Murphy (murphyl@earthlink.net), February 23, 2001.

I think much of this 'messing up the ER' is done for dramatic purposes- also I remember reading that the actors/ actresses don't wear masks when working on traumas because the producers and directors wanted to show more of their mimic and facial expressions. (nasty people could add that it wouldn't make much of a difference when looking at CLEO's facial expressions :) ) Sometimes ER tends to change reality a little in order to increase people's interest.

-- Anne (annebercher@gmx.de), February 26, 2001.

I remember reading, way back during Season 1 of ER that the reason they didn't use face masks in the ER was that it muffled the voices and made it hard to understand what the actors were saying.

-- Laura Lindstrom (llindstr@law.harvard.edu), February 26, 2001.

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