Saturday, February 13, 2010

Evolution of Sterilization

It is interesting to see how our methods of sterilization improved over time. At first we were limited to a method called "cold sterilization," depending on chemicals to sterilize our surgical instruments. This is actually an acceptable method, just not the best. And it is slow. H2O at 212 degrees is a great sterilizer. Check out our crude steam sterilizer. The last pic shows a great step forward in sophistication (for us)... a pressure cooker created specifically for use in remote medical clinics and hospitals. We received this from International Aid one day before the first plane departed for Haiti. It made it on the 3rd plane's cargo. We were very happy to see it arrive later in the week.

Cleanliness and sterility is difficult here. Infectious disease is prevalent. Sterile technique, wound irrigation ("the solution to pollution is dilution"), and antibiotics not withstanding... microbes rule in Haiti: tetanus, typhoid, measles, malaria... ad infinitum. And much of it is so unnecessary when you consider what we know we can do. For example, tetanus is so unnecessary. Typhoid can be prevented. And on and on.

We must do better. And I believe we can.

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