The truth is, we're often pushed to make decisions or treat a patient when we don't have all the information.
So many times, this leads a provider, perhaps when we are at the edge of our expertise, and don't have a colleague to ask -- to prescribe an antibiotic "just to be safe." For many years, this seemed like the wise thing to do. Now, though, we see news reports of superbugs, resistant to all antibiotics. And the point is clear:
“Just to be safe” could kill us, or a patient.
First a quick history: A particular superbug (resistant to just about all antibiotics) was first reported online on November 18, 2015 and then in print in February 2016. The first report of the E. coli bacterium with the mcr-1 gene in the US followed the first report of the mutation in China. Preceding this were reports of pork and chicken in Guangzhou between 2011 and 2014. The CDC reported on the first US case at Walter Reed Hospital in May, 2016. Now this week, the fourth US case has appeared.
"Same old, same old. I think I’ll be in denial," is one's first thought. But this remarkable video makes antibiotic resistance come alive. It is an incredible piece, showing great production with great imaginative science. Right in front of our eyes, we see antibiotic resistance evolving!
So, what does this have to do wth iClickCare? A lot, really, and that also a lot about our limitations as individuals, our society, and the massive onslaught of knowledge and its heavy burden which all providers must bear.
It is seemingly easy to “just be safe” and have the aide, the visiting nurse, the primary care person who is in the home and seeing redness around sutures slather on some triple antibiotic or give a prescription for a oral antibiotic. Would not a better way be to contact the surgeon and ask the surgeon's opinion? Yes, but realistically, none of us has the time for that.
An alternative is to take your iPhone from your pocket, open iClickCare, snap a picture, add the name and simultaneously text and email the surgeon. In this case, you would feel comfortable and confident that no antibiotics were needed, you would have reference for the next visit, and you could teach a colleague and spread the love.
We will all be safer for it.