Gauss44

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Oct 28, 2012
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Do you ever transport patients who are coughing up stuff and keep coughing and coughing that are not required to wear a mask per the nurse? If so, do you wear a mask yourself?

I mainly ask because I feel that it may be unsafe to transport people like that, and especially when you are pushing them from behind and their head is around the same level as yours which can be the case with a wheelchair or stretcher when the back is up. I am a volunteer so I don't get to know what is going on with patients. A nurse had me transport someone just like that tonight. I even asked her if the patient should be wearing a mask and she said, "No, it's just fluid." So I thought he was choking on a drink or something at first. Then on the way to the destination he started talking about post nasal drip and surgeries on his sinuses... Once we arrived where we were headed, the patient has his hands full of mucus or something. It was really nasty. Hospital has no way for volunteers to formally report exposures either. And we are not on the hospital's insurance policy. Occupational health will question us but not treat us if we get sick from something like this. I know this from a previous incident.

What do you think of this?

(While I am a pre-med, I am not a science major and have no significant medical training.)
 
Jun 23, 2014
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I am a transporter as well and if the patient had something that was to be concerned about the nurse would let you know before transporting him/her (at least they should). Honestly I don't think you need to worry about catching anything from post nasal drip unless your swiping it with your finger and licking it.
 
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blackroses

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Apr 24, 2014
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Gown/glove/mask up yourself as you feel appropriate. That way you feel better and a patient who doesn't need to be wearing protective equipment doesn't have to.
 
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Mar 8, 2015
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A nurse told me that he wears gloves for everything. EVERYTHING.
 

teeayejay

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Dec 9, 2014
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'Tis the life of a physician...take a deep breath and breath in the glory...

If you do indeed want to be a doc, you're gonna come across so many patients with a really nasty cough. And then you're gonna have to use your stethoscope on them with your face in theirs while they're hacking up a lung lol.

As a scribe, I've really only seen docs put on a mask when the pt is a possible flu carrier or TB or something like that, otherwise they just kind of wing it. And like it's been mentioned, the nurse will let you know of truly bad stuff.
 
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I even asked her if the patient should be wearing a mask and she said, "No, it's just fluid." So I thought he was choking on a drink or something at first.
Hahaha that's cute. The patient had heart failure. If the heart has trouble pumping the fluid backs up to the lung, irritates the lung lining and causes a cough.

Not all cough is contagious. In fact most cough you encounter in the inpatient setting is not contagious. You'll be fine. You appropriately asked the nurse whether he needs a mask and from what she told you it seems like the decision for no mask was correct. We tend to only use masks for certain viruses and TB (at certain times). Definitely continue to be diligent with this kind of stuff but don't let it worry you so much.
 
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