Dr Biodun Ogungbo, MBBS, FRCS, FRCSEd, MSc
This article is not supposed to be humerus (pun intended), but you have my permission to chuckle! Okay, let us start at the beginning.
Fact: We have not had a single case of wound infection in over 500 operations.
Operating on patients with brain and spine conditions can be fraught with danger. One such problem is wound infection. We guard against this by using stringent methods, protocols and practices. But, all these will fail without human supervision and foresight.
In some countries, 11% of patients who undergo surgery are infected in the process. In Africa, up to 20% of women who have a caesarean section contract a wound infection, compromising their own health and their ability to care for their babies. So this is real and a serious problem for the patient and the hospital. It can lead to death or disability and significant loss of revenue as the patient stays longer in hospital.
Prevention is therefore vital and starts with the patient. According to the World Health Organisation, people preparing for surgery should always have a bath or shower but not be shaved. The area of the operation should not be shaved by the patient or relatives!
The surgical staff also have a major role to play in preventing wound infection. Therefore, the first step in preventing infection in surgical wounds is the proper handling and cleaning of the instruments. This is vital. The instruments have to be presented in good condition for sterilization and then sterilized using the appropriate method for the material.
In theatre, proper handling, preparation and setting up of the instrument table is also of real importance. The scrub nurse can on occasion contaminate the sterile materials by absent mindedness. A little carelessness can render the table unsterile and put the patient at risk of an infection. So, you need a smart perioperative nurse at the top of his or her game.
For that we have Bishop and these are his special attributes.
The special one
Nurse Caleb Sabo Obed Bishop is our secret weapon in the Brain and Spine Surgery Consortium. A dedicated and consummate professional, Bishop is firmly integral to our success in the delivery of high quality and infection free surgical operations. As stated above, we have not had a single case of postoperative wound infection largely due to his professionalism, diligence and skills repertoire.
Nurse Bishop is the perfect scrub and has trained (himself!) to a high standard in neurosurgical procedures almost by special conditioning. He is a fast learner, a trouble shooter and an eagle eyed nurse who sees everything. No, it’s not because of the huge thick rimmed sunglasses! He is actually interested and shows keen acumen in learning the surgical procedures including reading and research into activities that enhances his skill set.
He thinks ahead and plans accordingly. He understands that planning is essential and regularly gets one or more surgeons out of trouble! So, when we are in the trenches as surgery can sometimes be, you need a soldier that continues to fire on all cylinders, remaining calm and in control of the surgical field. A bottle of Fanta sometimes helps!
His abilities extend not only into making the operation easy for the surgeon but his comments and opinions can at times be life-saving. Bishop is creative, forward thinking and an entrepreneur. He understands electronics, mechanics and some even say he is extremely good with his hands. We have no personal knowledge of that but he is an extremely effective surgical assistant when necessary.
Bishop speaks 3 major languages and more minor languages than you can count. He seems to know everything, hear everything and can comment or discuss on any topic. He likes music even though a tad repetitive (he has not bought new music in a long while!). Also, he has a great smile, friendly attitude and a warm caring nature: if he cares about you! If not, he can wind you up like a cheese grater! Okay, Bishop is not quite like Marmite, but close. Regardless, we like him just like that!
Fact: Bishop is the best perioperative nurse we have come across in a long time. He is our secret weapon. Ooops! Cats out of the bag, but we do need more like him.