Sunday, September 24, 2006

Water Music - preventing infection from urinary catheters

From time to time medics have steam coming out of my ears - condemning alternative medicine and ignoring their own fallible practices for instance. They seem to have a particular blindspot when it comes to supporting solutions that don't involve expensive drugs or high-tech equipment.

Sticking a catheter into the bladder is a dangerous business - it carries bugs with it that can be very hard to eradicate. See title link for the general state of alarm.

30 years ago Dr Reese Alsop at the Huntingdon Hospital, NY wrote up a method for avoiding these risks. He played the patients a tape of water sounds!

In summary, he wrote: "A 30 minute tape of splashing, gurgling, lapping, running, roaring, dripping and flushing watery sounds was made available to post-operative patients who were still unable to pee following conventional non-invasive treatment. 60 of 80 patients responded, often requiring 20+ minutes to do so - but that's 75% of catheterisation avoided.". He concluded: "A word of warning: earphones are de rigeur. On several occasions the tape was inadvertently broadcast, with unfortunate results for other patients and nursing staff."

Obvious when you think of it - it's one of our most ingrained responses. Has it been taken up - or even tried again - by the medical profession? Fat chance.


Blogger energybalance said...

I think, in general, there should be more emphasis made on preventative medicine, and a thorough investigation of alternative/traditional treatments. The problem is that there is far less incentive to do so, when the business based around more expensive drugs and technologies is funding more of its own kind. It is not in their interests to encourage alternatives which could detract from the "core business plan". However, on a human level, an equal exploration of low-tech methods might be highly beneficial. Modern medicine will be hard hit by rising energy costs, and the dearth of cheap petroleum, both as an energy source and as a chemical feedstock for the industries that drive it!

I commented on this in my posting on ( which can also be reached from my web-page:'Peak Oil and the NHS' (July 29th).

Chris Rhodes.

9:13 am  

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