Gripes & Graplings

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Accident & Emergency

I have a Broviac line inserted in my chest. This is a central line designed to provide long-term intravenous (IV) access. I have 'short bowel syndrome' and since I can't absorb nutrition through the bowel, I'm on lifetime TPN (total parenteral nutrition) which is given to me via my line. Sounds icky but you get used to it.

Anyway, from what I've understood, it lays in my subclavian vein and leads down to my heart. What I know for certain is that it's imperative that the very highest standards of hygiene are adhered to whenever I need to remove the line from it's sterile covering, regardless of the reason or where I might be. An infection in my line could be fatal and I'm not ready to die.

With that in mind, I wonder if anybody can explain why, during a recent visit to A&E, three doctors asked "can I just take a look at your line?" whilst approaching it with outstretched fingers, ready to unpack it, WITHOUT SO MUCH AS WASHING THEIR HANDS!!??

Not one of them bothered to go anywhere near the sink, let alone use alco gel and sterile gloves, even though there are posters hung on just about every available wall space warning of the dangers of spreading MRSA and other infections through poor hand hygiene!

How do doctors manage to pass their exams if they can't read? Those preparing the sandwiches in "Subway" have better hand hygiene than either of the doctors I encountered.

On each occasion I had to stop the doctor and tell him/her that "no, you can't look at my line as I only allow it to be unwrapped in situations where it's absolutely necessary and then only under aseptic conditions".

Neither of these doctors had any reason to see or touch my line other than to satisfy their own curiosity. Seeing/touching it would have made no difference at all to my diagnosis but could have, quite literally, cost me my life.

How dare they?!

Related Links:
British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Democratic Blogging

Whilst plodding through Blogland earlier today I stumbled across a blog owned by the English Democrats. Whoopee!

For those who've never heard of them before, they're a political party that were formed about 3 years ago in response to Gordon Brown's proposal to split England into districts. The English Democrats want an undivided England. Not only do they want an undivided England; they want an England that's independent of Scotland and Wales. No more Great Britain - just three countries standing alone.

But they're happy to settle for an English parliament, for the time being at least.

It just so happens that a friend is a candidate for the English Democrats (or at least, she was a friend until I refused to wish her luck in the last election and was then given an earful of abuse about being a Blair-ist, which I'm not), so having landed on their blog, I thought I'd have a look around and see what they're getting up to these days.

I found one post particularly interesting and, as is often the case when reading others' opinions, I had something I wanted to say.

As is the norm around Blogland, I hit the comments button and was presented with two fields for my name and email address as well as a big text box designed to accommodate my comment. So far so good. I wrote and wrote and wrote. And then I wrote some more. I had issues, after all. When I felt I'd said what I needed to say, I hit the 'post' button, happy to have got my opinion off my chest.

WRONG! Nothing had gone from my chest!

"Only registered users may post comments to this blog".

What? I could hardly believe it. The English Democrats will only accept comments from those who they've pre-approved? Silly me - I'd only thought that, judging by the name they've chosen,they'd be advocates of equality and respect for the individual and his opinions. How wrong I was.

And my 'friend' wondered why I didn't feel able to give her my political support?

Related Links:
The English Democrats
We Are The English
Campaign for an English Parliament