Mass. doctor invents product to curb hospital-acquired infections

Nov 08, 2010

Saints Medical Center is pleased to announce that Richard H. Ma, M.D, chair of its hospitalist department, has received a patent for a lightweight plastic cover for stethoscopes that will dramatically reduce hospital-acquired infections.

Stethguard is a V-shaped clear plastic cover that protects the head of the stethoscope up to its neck, where most of the germs and bacteria are located. Saints Medical Center will be the first hospital in the country putting Stethgaurd into practice.

A study conducted in 2009 by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School showed that roughly one out of three stethoscopes used by emergency department personnel contained the virus (MRSA) . Additionally, the study showed that the longer the instrument remains un-sanitized, the higher the probability that it carries the MRSA virus.

"Using this cover will help curb nosocomial hospital-acquired infections," Dr. Ma said. "I developed this cover in response to the alarming rise nationally of these types of infections".

The advise cleanings between patient exams and the use of dedicated room equipment for patients carrying a communicable disease and in isolation. However, compliance to this policy is often in the 50 percent range.

The entire staff at Saints Medical Center will be trained on the Stethgaurd protocol. "We are committed to minimizing rates and cross-contamination," Saints Medical Center CEO Stephen J. Guimond said.

Beginning in 2008, Medicare began monitoring hospital-acquired infections (errors) and began basing reimbursements on the level of errors. By utilizing the Stethguard, hospitals can minimize errors and increase reimbursements.

"As healthcare providers, we are entrusted with our patient's health and well being. As such we must do everything in our power to avoid inadvertently infecting our patients," Dr. Ma said.

Explore further: Global Ebola toll rises to 5,689: WHO

Provided by Saints Medical Center

3 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

MRSA head and neck infections increase among children

Jan 19, 2009

Rates of antibiotic-resistant head and neck infections increased in pediatric patients nationwide between 2001 and 2006, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, one of ...

Staph infections carry long-term risks

Jul 03, 2008

Patients who harbor the highly contagious bacterium causing staph infections can develop serious and sometimes deadly symptoms a year or longer after initial detection, a UC Irvine infectious disease researcher has found.

Recommended for you

Ebola aid dogged by coordination lags in Guinea

7 hours ago

Eight months into West Africa's Ebola outbreak, aid efforts in Guinea still suffer from poor coordination, hampering deployments of international support to help quell a virus that has killed more than 1,200 ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.