There is no doubt in saying that, Doctors, Nurses and Hospital Attendants are the most at Risk people, who work in close proximity with the Sick. We are exposed constantly to Infections and communicable diseases and by this I mean multiple of them every single day. At times there is no option than to pray that we don’ t acquire the infections as in case of Dealing with Pulmonary tuberculosis patients and we know the mask alone doesn’t help.
When we were studying Bachelors in the Medical college, initially we were pretty scared of the infections, primarily Tuberculosis. We have seen many of our seniors and friends down with Tuberculosis. The severe most is when TB reaches the Meninges, we have seen it cause blindness and permanent disability . The highest risk people are Ophthalmologist while performing Fundoscopy, Physicians, Pediatricians and nursing staff and attendants who are involved in the patient care. Tuberculosis is not a stigma, but a well known fact and a Fear to all the health workers, as we ourselves are human beings as well. ( Traffic Police who test alcohol by smelling breath- How much risk do they carry ?)
Hepatitis B, C and HIV
Needle pricks, cuts, injury during blood sampling, exposure the blood when not wearing gloves, accidental splashing of blood into the eyes… and we don’t always know the Serological Status of the patient. Hep B and C are more likely to be transmitted than HIV. But whichever one you get them, you know the consequences. There are many health workers who have under intense stress after needle pricks and exposure to blood, many had to take Prophylaxis and Immunoglobulins ( Very expensive) and some have even been infected. Surgeons, OT nurses, Cleaning attendants are the most exposed people.
The dreaded organism Meningococci which causes Menigococcemia and Meningitis, is not rarely encountered specially at ER. It is a severe disease that is transmitted very quickly and is more severe in children. We as health professionals often take Prophylactic antibiotics – Ciprofloxacin, Rifampicin etc and even advise all the close contacts to do the same.
The Avian Flu, The Swine Flu, all that is seen in the TV, Internet are some of the disease we have to face. We are exposed to such diseases even unknowingly and the sad thing is that even when we know the disease for certain, we lack adequate equipments to protect ourselves. Those masks and gloves don’t help.
When acquired by an adult, results could be devastating. It is highly communicable and with 95% secondary attack rate threatens the ones who had never had it before. Disseminated Varicella, Hemorrhagic varicella, Chicken pox etc are dreaded complications including encephalitis.
Besides these infectious diseases,
Radiation Hazard that arise from X-Ray radiations, Fluroscopy etc are often unaccounted but on long run prove to have adverse affect on the health professionals.
While Administering anti-neoplastic agents like Cyclophosphamide , health worker are exposed to its ill-effects of not well-protected clothing are available.
And many more..
So, being in Health care sector requires a lot of sacrifice . The other thing bad about it is, this thing always goes unnoticed and we are never credited for it.