Friday, May 22, 2009

Exposures and Illnesses

"Caring for patients is a privilege, a calling,” he said. “Remember, no one forced you to sign your contract.”

I think many of us have heard and said these same words maybe replace the patient with another word but it is all the same. Why do we push ourselves to the limit and where does the drive come from?

Well it has to come from the heart so keep that in mind the next time you visit your Doctor they take huge risks everyday for you and your loved ones.

The guesstimated figures are we loose up to 300 health care workers a year.

Over the years, I have been stuck, cut, coughed on, scratched and splashed several more times. Each time, I feel the floor and my life fall away. I have never contracted a life-threatening infectious disease; but sometimes I catch myself wondering if it’s only a matter of time. During the SARS epidemic a few years back, for example, health care workers were disproportionately affected; certain hospitals in affected areas reported that over half their workers contracted the disease.

Supporting a national registry of occupational deaths in health care workers would go a long way toward recognizing and supporting some of the extraordinary decisions of ordinary individuals. And that registry, I believe, should be part of the agreement between health care workers and those they serve.

We really have no way at the moment to get a handle on how many we loose to occupational disease and illnesses. However we do have a guesstimated figure from NIOSH

We loose close to 6,000 workers a year do to incidents and an additional 50,000 - 60,000 worker deaths are conservatively estimated by NIOSH and other researchers to occur each year from toxic exposures, and other work illnesses. 1

So seems at least we loose 56,000 family members a year and every one of these are trying to take care of others in some form or another. We really do need a registry for all exposures and illnesses. We really need the who, what, where and when to find out the why and what issues we should address.

We can never tell our healthcare provideres enough how much we appreciate them so next time give it a try. Thank For All You Do.

1. Leigh, J. Paul; Markowitz, Steven; Fahs, Marianne; Landrigan, Philip. Costs of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. University of Michigan Press, 2000; and U.S. House of Representatives. Hidden Tragedy: Underreporting of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses. A Majority Staff Report by the Committee on Education and Labor. Honorable George Miller, Chairman, June 2008; and Steenland, Kyle; Burnett, Carol; Lalich, Nina; et al.Dying for Work: The Magnitude of US Mortality From Selected Causes of Death Associated With Occupation, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Vol 43, pp 461-482, 2003, as cited in Woeppel, Patrice,On Worker Deaths. Hazards Magazine, UK,April 28, 2009.

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