By: Dr. Golf Shirt (@DrGolfShirt)
Sam Blackbird, a third year medical student at McMaster University has decided to live the entirety of his daily life maintaining sterile technique. This change in his lifestyle came after he broke sterility during his first time in the OR.
A shaken Blackbird recounts the events: “It was awful. I was just trying to help the team get better lighting, so I grabbed the blue handle of the overhead light. I had no idea it was such a big deal. Next thing I know, an alarm was going off, and I was ushered outside by one of the OR nurses. I knew breaking sterility was bad…but not this bad”. Due to the slip up by the observing medical student, the patient was placed on prophylactic Vancomycin and was admitted to the ICU for observation.
We were able to catch up with the scrub nurse, Patty, during her smoke break who said “It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. I always tell them “don’t touch anything blue” and what do they always do? Touch something blue”. When asked about the incident, operating general surgeon Dr. Alex Klaire said “Sam who? I don’t remember that. All I can recall about the case was that there was approximately a 500ml blood loss.”
How does this medical student, and neurosurgery gunner, plan on preventing this traumatic experience from happening ever again? By living his entire life in sterile technique. Since the incident, Blackbird begins each day off with a shower using Iodine body wash. He then dons his greens, scrub cap, crocs and mask before finally gowning up. “I am a big believer that practice makes perfect. Now I live every day like this, and this way I’ll never break sterility whilst in the operating room again!”. We asked Sam what the hardest part of his new way of living was, he said “uhhhhh….going number 2”.
Blackbird’s fiancee, fellow medical student Ellie Meyer, isn’t adjusting as well to Sam’s new lifestyle: “I came home from the grocery store and the entire house was draped with that damned blue paper and our towels are all green now. Oh, and he just stands there doing that weird thing with his fingers interlocked, and his hands resting on his chest”. She continues “It’s annoying but I guess things are getting a little easier ever since the nightmares stopped”.