IMS Rep to Help Prevent Surgical Cross-contamination in Kenya
When U.S. surgical teams take their skills to the developing world, lives can be changed. Cleft palates and malformed limbs are corrected, blinding cataracts removed.
But what happens to the instruments between procedures? That question troubled Craig Cleveland, a Texas medical sales rep, leading him to book a flight to Kenya.
Cleveland was visiting a hospital as a representative of the surgical instrument management and consulting company IMS. He overheard a nurse tell a colleague she was trying to find a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) who could teach sterile processing practices in Kenya. Her concerns included the transmission of deadly pathogens, such as HIV, between patients because instruments had not been properly decontaminated and sterilized. Before long, Cleveland volunteered for the trip.
Cleveland is a CST who now works in medical sales. He has a passion for serving the less fortunate, having volunteered at a Sudanese orphanage in 2008. Moreover, in a surgical procedure two years ago, he lost the use of his right side for six months - in part because an instrument was in poor repair. “I know what can happen when instruments aren't properly handled,” he said. “It’s my faith in God that has allowed me to recover from my paralysis, as well as give back to the community and the world.”
In Kenya, Cleveland will work with hospital staff to improve processes for instrument management and sterile processing. “Cross contamination is an issue everywhere,” he said. “When patients have surgery, they shouldn’t be exposed to something that could be so devastating, not only for them but their families and communities.”
Instruments for the trip were refurbished without charge by Instruments of Mercy, a non-profit organization supported by Cleveland’s employer, IMS. Instruments of Mercy is also helping to pay for Cleveland’s flight.
May 02, 2012
James Crowe gets to experience some local culture in Africa