Precautions Against Infection


We are just about to start an endo-venous
laser procedure and I am making sure that I am scrubbed up. Myself and the scrub nurse
– we wash our hands very thoroughly with antiseptic solutions – a so called “scrub”
and we do this as a “sterile procedure” so both myself and Pam will be gowned, and
we have theatre gowns on and they are sterile and they cover us completely and we are also
wearing sterile gloves. We will then very shortly clean the leg of the patient who is
going to have endovenous laser with an antiseptic solution. We use an aqueous solution as opposed
to an alcoholic solution – two reasons – firstly it is more comfortable for the patient. We
can warm the solution safely so that when we apply it to the leg the patient is not
uncomfortable. And the second reason is that alcoholic solutions are flammable so there
is a potential risk there that we can avoid with aqueous or water based antiseptic solutions.
Another reason of course is that – particularly in the groin area – alcoholic solutions
can be very uncomfortable, very stingy. So we prefer at the VeinCare Centre to use aqueous
solutions which have been warmed – the patient’s comfort is paramount – it is a very effective
antiseptic. Over the last 12 years of doing procedures under local anaesthetic and using
that solution we have had no infections. We take infections very seriously and we scrub
thoroughly and don theatre gowns and sterile gloves. Pam has already scrubbed and draped.
She has prepared the trolley in advance of my coming into the treatment room and she
has also very kindly opened the disposable gown and gloves for me. I am thoroughly drying
my hands now before I put the gown on. This is all disposable single use gowns and gloves
so they are “thrown away” at the end of the procedure. Jane is going to tie me up
at the back. A lot of specialists don’t feel that it is necessary to put a theatre
gown on and gloves – we do! I have a surgical background – I am a vascular surgeon – and
I am used to doing procedures with gown and gloves on. Is it necessary? There is debate
but I think that every precaution you can take to avoid infections is worth taking – even
if perhaps it is a little excessive! So we are going to clean the patient’s leg now
and when we next appear in the video we will start the procedure with the patient cleaned
draped and a nice “sterile field” where we can conduct the procedure in an aseptic
sterile manner without the risk of infection.

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