The Answer to Infection Prevention and How We Must Proceed

by Victoria Nahum, co-founder of

This morning I woke up slowly and not without some anxiety amidst many deep thoughts having to do with my family. I wondered which memories my husband, Armando would concentrate on today, Father’s Day 2008 - the warm, happy ones associated with his own father and our children - or the sad ones of loss and loneliness and how he sorely missed our son Josh a year and a half after he’d died from a health care acquired infection. This day would be even more difficult since we just found out 3 days ago that his own father has been diagnosed with chronic leukemia.

I laid there thinking about all the issues surrounding infection prevention like compulsive hand hygiene and the 2 very different camps regarding the “zero infection rate” controversy. I considered issues like the additional costs associated with prevention and hospital budgets and what the providers will pay for and blah, blah, blah. Suddenly, I knew the answer we were looking for all along. Surprisingly, the answer itself came from another question.

It asks -
What if it is YOUR (fill in the blank: young son, beautiful daughter, loving mother, terrific father, dear sister, favorite brother, best friend, etc.) who is or might become sick or infected or die from a health care acquired infection? Would YOU INSIST on:
the test,
the cure,
the pill,
the procedure,
the herb,
the balm,
the remedy,
the hand hygiene,
the elixir,
the thingamajig,
the antidote,
the potion,
the treatment,
the therapy,
the vaccine,
the preventative,
the ointment …
no matter WHAT the price or inconvenience to make sure your loved one would be well and would not die?”

In a moment - all of the unnecessary discord and clamor associated with infection prevention: the inconvenience of compulsive hand hygiene, the costliness of the extra ounce of prevention, nursing staff issues and the question of active surveillance culturing – disappeared once and for all.

And as far as infection prevention initiatives and next steps go – I am confident and assured that we all know the right way to proceed.