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Monday, June 18, 2007

The operation was a success but the patient died…

The chances of becoming more diseased in UK hospitals has increased, according to hospital self-assessments released today. MRSA and its fearsome ilk propagate virulently, in unwashed corners of wards, equipment and hands. Why?

It goes like this. Once, hygiene was recognised as the major combatant against diseases spreading. Bugs could be, literally, washed down the plughole. Medical staff and home-based carers didn’t need to think twice about it. But there has been a revolution in perceptions and attitudes.

First, death has become so taboo that until it collides with us, suddenly excising those closest in our lives, we avoid contact and thought about it. We don’t take simple steps to delay it in case we might be accused of superstition. We prefer the fantasy of immunity and immortality until we go, screaming into the night.

The constant, drip-feed publicising of the miracles of technology has made people think that, somehow, medical science will have the answer to whatever might afflict us – particularly those things that occur because of personal neglect. Miracle remissions hold sway in our consciousness. A few bogey-diseases rupture this artifice of personal security – the pervasive flood of cancers or genetic malfunctions that erupt into physical or mental disorder. But, since they have all the incomprehensible power of an alien invasion, we suppress our fears and hope for the best.

Underpinning this wilful evasion of thoughts about our mortality, is the increasing alienation a growing part of the population experience between themselves and the stuff of life around them. They succumb to advertising that increases the hygiene-glitz of their houses, thus allowing their children no capacity to build immunities. Nature, itself, has become a packaged genre of TV programming. Meat exists, pinkly, in plastic trays. Trees loom above the unseeing on city streets. Simple physical environmental jobs involve bringing in ‘someone who knows’. People are losing the sense of their interrelatedness with everything that exists. They are hardly connected to much except virtual projections of what is ‘out there’.

Finally, as an earlier blog suggests in some detail, people are becoming more vulnerable to personal and social entropy. The way they do their jobs has an attendant lack of personal monitoring that is needed for those jobs to be done consistently well.

In other words, they have a growing capacity to be inept.

Taking all this into account, is it any wonder doctors, nurses, administrators, cleaners and visitors ignore the disinfectant gel by the ward door? They hardly see it. It does not exist within their sphere of self or public interest.


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