Transmission and infection control

Ed W master
Transmission and infection control
Interviewee: Ed Wilkins. Interviewer: Fiona Clampin.

Ed was a junior doctor at the time, here he recalls his first patient and what infection control measures were taken.

“The first patient.  Well, there were no guidelines specifically for HIV, not that I remember.  Remember I was a registrar then, and this was the first case we had seen, so, I don’t think we really thought too much about it, apart from the fact, we all knew that nobody knew how it was transmitted.

Gloves, masks, goggles…

So, aerosol was a real possibility, so you had to cover, breathing it in, and getting it into mucus membranes through splashes.  And so you would have to wear goggles, you’d have to wear a mask. Touch was felt to be very unlikely, but still gloves is part of infection control.  And, the visor was just because, again, taking blood, this was obviously secretion-related in some way, as well, it was just to, to give added protection.

He needed a hug

So one had to be sensible about taking precautions for any possible mode of transmission.  But it turns out, I could have sat on the bed, given the patient a hug, you know, and whatever, and never have picked it up, as we know now.  He needed a hug.  Alas.”