Monday, January 9, 2012


Health Risk assessment of working in the Emergency Room.

Working in the Emergency Room is like going to war, you never know what you are going to face. Like a Boyscout, the motto of an ER physician should be 'be prepared'.

One has to be prepared because the ER is a very risky place to work, it can be compared to a factory where workers have to protect themselves from getting injured.

Patients in the ER are the most unstable you can come across, so being careful goes without saying.

First of all, you have to dress appropriately and have gloves and a face mask within reach.

You have to be careful with health care equipment and needles, you wouldn't want to be pricked accidentally with a needle from a patient that has a blood borne disease like HIV.

You also have to be careful of accidental discharges by patients, an unconscious man can easily direct a fast stream of hot urine straight onto the face of the examining doctor( hopefully, the doctor's mouth would be shut).

Blood splashes are also an everyday risk: This could occur whilst trying to withdraw blood from a patient or administering some intravenous medication. Blood may be splashed onto one's clothes or get into one's eyes or mouth.

A number of times, we come across patients in need of mental health care, violent patients or violent relatives of patients, cases have been known of relatives trying to cause bodily harm to a doctor. There was a case a doctor had to escape through a window to prevent being harmed by an aggrieved relative.

Airborne exposure is another risk - a coughing tuberculosis patient may easily transfer the bacteria to an attending physician.

On a lighter note, you could also get a pass from a patient (author has had a pass from a mentally deranged patient).
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