Busy, Scary Times

December 6th, 2006 by Potato

As the expression goes, I’ve been as busy as a dog with three dicks, and got about as much accomplished, too.

In the news lately there’s a scare at University Hospital here in London about a Creutzfeldt-Jakob patient who had surgery performed. The nasty thing about a prion disease like that is that typical sterilization techniques are ineffective; you have to burn the room (or seal it up with the extra asbestos and never use it again) and throw away all the tools. That’s one of the problems we’re having now: at least one OR and a whole batch of instruments is off-limits, and patients are being shuffled around the city in an administrative nightmare (latest reports even have the ER there redirecting patients). I thought they’d be reopening some rooms at my hospital, but it doesn’t look that way (I don’t know if it’s because the closure of our ER department didn’t actually give us any reserve of the type of rooms/instruments needed, or if it just hasn’t occured to anyone for what looks to be just a few days of closure — it would make a bit more sense in one regard since we’re a lot closer to UH than the other ER in town).

5 Responses to “Busy, Scary Times”

  1. Netbug Says:

    That sounds really nasty man. Any zombies resulting?

  2. Ben Says:

    Sounds like a false alarm, thank god. That Mad Cow is some seriously scary shit!! And to think (from the article), “…which could have contaminated instruments used between Nov. 3 and Dec. 4.” A month of surgial instruments contamininating countless patients?!?!?! That would have been a massive medical disaster in my opinion. Not to mention the lingering question of where the patient got the disease in the first place…


  3. Potato Says:

    I think that’s a typo: I’m pretty sure it’s Nov 30 to Dec 4 (about 1500 surgeries). I’m a bit confused about the whole “testing negative” thing. From what we’ve heard from the hospital here, the surgery was on a patient who was asymptomatic for CJD, so there was no reason to suspect it (which is why no precautions were taken). It was only after the biopsy was taken that it tested positive for CJD, so I’m not sure why that’s changed back to negative now. I wonder if the media got a detail wrong, because we’ve been told that the potentially contaminated tools and sterilizer came back clean…

    Update: There’s been more trouble at UH: the steam supply has gone out, meaning no heat and no steam to sterilize tools. They’re making plans to evacuate the hospital now…

  4. Ben Says:

    This article seems to give a little more accurate account of what happened…Apparently there never was a “positive test”, I guess other media outlets came up with that “fact” on their own. It does sound much more dramatic :o)


  5. Potato Says:

    Yeah, there’s just “when a brain biopsy showed a patient might have CJD.”