Why Biden’s New Ruling Dates Back to 1990’s

Why Biden's New Ruling Dates Back to 1990's

Barbara Fassbinder, one of the first health care professionals to be infected with the AIDS virus while on the job, died on Tuesday at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. She was 40 and had lived in Monona, Iowa. Barbara Fassbinder died in 1994. 

BUT WHY TELL ME THIS?  Because this was the headline in an Iowa newspaper that hospital staff at all levels will never forget. It was a headline that became national news and changed hospital practice. 

Because soon after Ms. Fassbinder’s death (and others that followed, a patient of a dentist in Florida etc) radical changes were made as to how doctors, nurses, nurses aids, and people who cleaned OR’s and patient rooms–anyone working near blood and body fluids would practice their skills.

Below is an excerpt from an article that eventually appeared in the NY TIMES. 

In 1986, Mrs. Fassbinder was infected with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, while helping treat a patient in the emergency room of Memorial Hospital in Prairie du Chien, Wis.

While pressing gauze on a needle puncture, the patient’s blood apparently mingled with her blood through small cuts on her hand from gardening, she said in 1990. The young man died, and an autopsy showed he had AIDS. But it was not until January 1987, when she tried to make a blood donation, that she discovered she had been infected.

She and her family kept the infection a secret until she decided to speak out in 1990. “My biggest fear was how the community would react to me and my kids and my husband,” she said at a news conference in Iowa City in which she told her story in the hope that it would warn other health-care workers. The 1,500 people of Monona, a farming community in northeastern Iowa, gave her family “nothing but support,” she said at the time.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, an AIDS expert and epidemiologist with the Minnesota Department of Health who became a friend of her family, said she “helped bridge the gap between the worlds of the health care provider and the AIDS patient in need of competent and compassionate care like no one else could.”

Mrs. Fassbinder traveled extensively, talking to people about AIDS and how to prevent infection by H.I.V.. She testified about AIDS before Congress, and in 1992 she was recognized by the Surgeon General and the Department of Health and Human Services for her work. A native of Marion, Ohio, she also served on the National Health Care Reform Committee set up by Hillary Rodham Clinton and was a member of the Iowa State Commission on AIDS, Dr. Osterholm said.

SO WE ALL KNOW ABOUT AIDS, WHY FOCUS ON THIS DEATH? 

MY ANSWER, OSHA, The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It was Mrs. Fassbinder’s death and the subsequent deaths and illnesses of other healthcare workers that revolutionized the practice of dealing with blood and body fluids in hospitals.

All of this was done to protect doctors, nurses and anyone working in a hospital from contacting AIDS. The stringent regulations offered other benefits to hospital personnel who for years treated patients with bare hands and were exposed to bacteria and viruses, which they could then pass on to other patients and their families.

THE BIG RED OSHA bags became standard use in hospitals as a way to bind up materials that carried viruses and bacteria.

When you are admitted to a hospital today, you take it for granted that anyone entering your room will be using hand sanitizer. That’s not because of Covid. That’s because of Mrs. Fassbinder contacting AIDS.

MORE DETAILS ON THE LATEST NEWS CONCERNING OSHA  (NY TIMES)

The Biden Administration, in its efforts to combat Covid 19 has tasked the United States Department of Labor with writing a regulation that will force tens of millions more workers to get vaccinated—or to produce weekly negative test results. This move will test the agency’s legal power and could draw a legal challenge. 

The Labor Department will issue a regulation requiring companies with 100 or more employees to follow the above directives….Although the agency’s ability to meet legal thresholds necessary for such a forceful intervention into the private sector remains unclear, some in the business community who’ve been wrestling with how to increase their employee vaccination rates without controversy are indicating support for the move.

Some of you reading this post will have worked in healthcare. And you know and many people who have been hospitalized and even visited an ER, know that people who work in healthcare believe in and must comply with certain health requirements.
Currently those include inoculations for: Hepatitis B, Annual Flu, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) Varicella, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) and Meningococcal. And all healthcare workers should be screened for Tuberculosis. 
Copies of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standard are available from the OSHA website.
Why Biden's New Ruling Dates Back to 1990's

Why Biden’s New Ruling Dates Back to 1990’s

10 thoughts on “Why Biden’s New Ruling Dates Back to 1990’s

  1. This article and history of protecting health care workers reaches far into the issues that we currently face in regards to Covid……

    • Thanks for reading, Bill. The issue with AIDS started a major chance in hospital care and there is absolutely no reason why we cannot do the same during this health crisis. Oddly, it’s the healthcare workers who need to stand up and protect themselves.

    • Thank you, My Friend. When I read about Biden’s directive, this immediately came to mine. It changed hospitals for the better. It saved lives.

  2. The healthcare workers who refuse to get vaccinated are the most puzzling. Seeing what this virus does everyday (mostly to those unvaccinated), you’d think would be enough to sway their feelings.

  3. I never realized the connection of some practices (such as using hand sanitizer) were due to AIDS. I also remember the stigma that many who contracted AIDS had to face (Ms. Fassbinder’s concern) even to where a famous SF writer, Isaac Asimov, hid the fact that he was dying from AIDS (from a blood transfusion) as recently as 1990. I don’t understand the reluctance with this vaccine, perhaps proving that health care workers can be just as mislead by false information as the rest of us (?) NY State has a health care worker’s vaccine mandate and one NY State hospital just had to announce it could not handle women giving birth at this time, because part of the staff walked off the job in protest.

    • Alana, you make some very important points. WE ALL had to accept and understand AIDS, but during that time period, mothers turned against sons, fathers wouldn’t speak to their offspring and men suffered and often died alone. I thought we were all more open minded about letting science help us out, but I was wrong. Ignorance still reigns in some circles. So sad.

  4. With every step forward in the science of healthcare, comes the inevitable backlash against new protocols and practices. It amazes me that, as a people we have seen more advances than any other generation in the entire history of mankind and yet we stubbornly offer the most push-back. Where are our heads?

    • So true, every word of your response. NOW in the US in the state of Florida, children are dying and the governor just let’s it happen. UNREAL!

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