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Hospital Reset

Get rid of drug-resistant germs with radiation
  (+4, -5)
(+4, -5)
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Hospitals are dangerous places. That's because they use lots of antibiotics, thus allowing dangerous drug-resistant strains to develop.

Here's how to deal with it. Evacuate the hospital and remove any equipment or supplies that could be damaged by gamma rays.

Send in a robot with an intense gamma-source in its "hand". Robot rolls or lumbers or walks (see Honda bipedal robot) around the premises, waving the gamma source. Everything, and I mean EVERYthing alive in the place dies. Robot retires. People back in. A fresh start, and not a drug-resistant bug to be found.

BTW, the reason gamma radiation is ideal is the same reason it is good for irradiating food--it does not render any materials radioactive and can be made very intense--so that no living matter can survive.

Glad to help!

boris, Feb 23 2001


       Those drug-resistant bacteria are generally to be found inside the patients, not on the floors and walls of the building.
egnor, Feb 23 2001

       Start by making the drains fresh by irradiation. That'd replace baking soda and free more up for personal hygiene.
reensure, Feb 23 2001

       A cheaper solution might be to fill the building with chlorine gas which would kill every living organism.
insaneray, Feb 23 2001

       The drug resistant bacteria will also be found under the nails, on the soles of the shoes, etc. of the staff. You probably won't find any volunteers for the nuking.
JillMaria, Feb 23 2001

       From the title of this idea, I thought you meant that you could go into hospital and have all your internal organs reset to how they were when you were fifteen, before you had ruined them all through drink, fags, various lifestyle drugs and a complete lack of exercise. Now that would be a brilliant idea but possibly tinpuét.
Gordon Comstock, Feb 23 2001

       Zen & the Art is really NOT about any of those things.
boris, Feb 24 2001

       "The drug resistant bacteria will also be found under the nails, on the soles of the shoes, etc. of the staff. You probably won't find any volunteers for the nuking."   

       JillMaria, I find this implausible. If the reservoir of drug-resistant bugs were in these places, the people from the hospital would be walking Typhoid Mary's--infecting thousands through normal contact. And since everyone in modern hospitals use gloves for basically ANYthing, the fingernail business also bothers me.   

       As for being "inside the patients" this implies that the drug-resistant bugs were inside the patients when they arrived, begging the question of where they came from in the first place. It is my understanding that HOSPITALS have been identified as the breeding ground for these germs and the idea is to stop the fun for the beasties en masse.
boris, Feb 24 2001

       In hospitals there are large numbers of unwell, immune-compromised people packed densely together and lots of selective pressure from antibiotic use and overuse; this makes them ideal breeding grounds and R&D labs for new strains of tough, opportunistic bacteria. These strains aren't necessarily more infectious than other kinds; they're just more difficult to get rid of. People with, say, drug-resistant TB are a problem, but they don't "infect thousands" (and neither did Typhoid Mary, if you remember). Egnor's perfectly right. The only "hospital reset" which would be effective would be one which left the patients inside the building while you irradiated it. (And don't forget the role of people who help the drug-resistant beasties along by not finishing their antibiotics, without ever coming near a hospital.)   

       The problem might, as you almost suggest, be with the state of "[your] understanding". The notion that hospitals -- the physical buildings -- are responsible for this problem and that we should therefore zap them is, though, an interesting insight into the logic which also underlies some of your other ideas.
Monkfish, Feb 24 2001

       Where's the best place to get certain staph or strep infections? The hospital. Yes, studies have shown strains of methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) under the fingernails of floor nurses. Is this a problem for them? NO. For most people? NO. For AIDS patients, folks undergoing cancer chemo, or under immunosuppression for transplants? YES. The goal is to keep ourselve sterile and wash the bugs away. Surfaces aren't that good for harboring most bugs; people are. (Aside rant: for most of these bugs, we need a soap to dislodge the critters from the nooks and crannies of our hands, and wash to rinse them away. We DON'T need to kill them -- our sanitation will do that, or deliver the bugs to areas where they are harmless. Therefore antibacterial cleansers are, in most circumstances for Joe Q. Public, absolutely superfluous.)   

       The gamma radiation idea is definitely half-baked. Those bugs which are insufficiently radiated end up as mutants, some of which would undoubtely be newly resistant to any drug we have to combat it. Voila! Instant epidemic about which we can do nothing. Thanks, I'll stick to my MRSA, handwashing, and vancomycin.
djanaba, Apr 08 2001

       Boris, I'm sorry you find my suggestion implausible, but facts are facts - hospital employees are notorious for being bacteria vectors - and yes, the microscopic bugs DO reside under fingernails, wedding bands, etc. Watch any surgeon scrub-in and you will see him/her first clean their fingernails with the provided pick. In sterile environments, rings are not allowed on staff or patients for the above reasons. In an ideal setting, gloves are worn for patient and body fluid contact, but I have yet to see a colleague chart, stock, count meds, or generally walk around with a fresh pair of gloves on! Monkfish and djanaba are right on target with their reasoning. Gamma rays would do little more than mutate said bugs into something maybe better not imagined... The over-use of antibiotics and "disinfectants" has actually CAUSED drug-resistant strains to proliferate...anyone remember when tetracycline was considered a powerful antibiotic? The only answer for a relatively clean environment is common sense - handwashing - and handwashing done appropriately. Patients die every day from nosocomial infections - and many of these come from the health-care providers...if you find this fact implausible, feel free to check with JAMA for the stats. By the way, Typhoid Mary was considered responsible for infecting roughly 100 people with typhus...the state board of health believed this to be a deliberate act of negligence, i.e. it wasn't her dirty fingernails, rather, she deliberately infected food and dishware. Jill (no-nuke) Maria
JillMaria, Apr 11 2001

       I like the idea of a killer radioactive robot that might go on the rampage from time to time.
Aristotle, Apr 11 2001


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