Friday, May 15, 2009

Swine Flu and Sick Time

CDC backed off school closures and everyone decided swine flu (or novel H1N1, whatever) was not any big deal. Here’s a problem with that. A little kid was reported to me with a positive rapid influenza A screen. A specimen was forwarded to the reference lab for further testing. I talked to the kid’s mom. She was concerned because she had just started feeling bad – and she is a pulmonologist. Who spends more of her time in a hospital intensive care unit. I told her per the CDC guidelines to stay home for 7 days, longer if she is still sick. She had me speak with the hospital administrator about this – yes, she really should stay out of your ICU, I said. The investigation was done, entered into our database, and filed.

Today we received confirmation that the child did have swine flu. I called the mom to let her know. Mom is still sick – she’s been running a temp of 102 for days and days. Oh, and she’s been working too. Instead of staying out of work at least 7 days, she stayed out 2. Her reasoning was that she does not get sick time and she was off unpaid. Then she tells me that one of her patients – with lung cancer – spiked a fever. Could he have swine flu? Hmmmm. YES DOC HE COULD. Why don’t ya go ahead and do a flu screen, then send a swab in for further testing? Please. Sheesh.

How utterly irresponsible. I informed the hospital infection control practitioner so he could follow up on exposed patients. He was not pleased (to put things mildly).

Having an infectious disease is a nuisance. It is an inconvenience. But please, let’s all take some personal responsibility. If you are infectious, you should not be around other people. And if you are an employer, be humane to your employees and provide sick time.

1 comment:

  1. well u r right not only with h1n1 but with even flues that keep people unwell and sick for couple of days employer should share employees thier feeling and concern and not dealing with them as machines, they need rest when they r sick, besides we should be responsible when we hold an infectious diseae, we have to take prevenative measures to save other humans.
    Dr.Essam misherghi