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mom-surgeon stressed, please answer (corrected version)
Jan 4, 2006

... forwards: sorry if I post again: my previous mail was full of erors ! (I'm Italian, forgive me !)

Dear Dr. Douglas T. Dieterich , First of all happy New Year and thank you for your precious work !

Second of all: PLEASE ANSWER: Im sure that after your precious answer my fears will disappear. I talk with some collegues but everybody thought i was half crazy, and didnt care about my words !

Heres briefely my history, and my doubts : I'm an MD, specilizing in surgery. I used to wear the same socks both at home, and at work All was going fine ... but I did notice, one day, that some centimeters of my socks are (when operating) not covered by my trousers and neither by the operating room dress.

So as little amounts of blood can fall on the floor (and other unhealthy things like these)...they can fall on my socks...too !

And well... OK I think I could see some fresh blood on my socks and even feel it (i mean large drops of blood running down form the operating field), but i Fear that maybe some small particles of blood can fall on the socks, and I could not even see or fell them (e.g. small particles of blood that kind of coagulate on the operating field...like small particles... a kind of bloody dust if youve ever been in a OR you know what i mean-).

And if I (like I used to do, and other collegues too) don't change the socks when it's time to go home, the little amount of things can go-fall in my shoes, and can definitevly arrive at my home when I came back, and put off my shoes (i love to walk without shoes, with just socks... but if they are contaminated !!!)

What can happen, dr. Doug?

Do you think this is a risky habit? Am I and my family at risk for HBV; HCV; HIV ... that are coming with my socks at home? Moreover: what can happen if I touch the socks, and lets say after a while i put my fingers in my mouth ?

please do do do answer ASAP.

Other 2 li'l questions: - a lot of collegues ose the same boots both in the operating room and in the ward... and in the changing room, where we change our shoes. What can happen if I step on the pavement where a collegue of mine have stepped after being in the OR (and he-she has stepped on blood)? What can happen if I step with the very same shoes at home?

-is nailbiting or put figers in my mouth a risk factor for HIV; HBV; HCV ? (i mean if hand are not cleaned... BUT are not even visibly dirty with blood etc)

please do answer... ok... maybe I'm a bit stressed... but I'm becoming mom!!! Answer to my questions will be such a nice gift !

Thank you in advance dr.Doug... from me and the coming soon son !

Response from Dr. Dieterich

Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your son! I do not think that any of those things you described represent a real risk for transmission of hepatitis B or C or HIV. Transmission really requires injection of the viruses under the skin, into the blood stream. Skin exposures, while not a great idea are really not a terrible risk. I am glad that you are thinking about all of this. Keep thinking about it and you will certainly stay safe! DTD



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