JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When patients see the doctor, they expect to get better not worse.
But inside hospitals and healthcare facilities, a deadly risk may be lurking.
Superbugs like MRSA claim thousands of lives each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Baptist Medical Center is introducing a new precaution: anti microbial scrubs.
"A lot of times we don't realize that we come in contact with bacteria or viruses because often times you can't see them," explained Kristin Vondrak, chief quality officer at Baptist.
Vondrak oversees care and well-being of patients, including infection rates.
The white lab coat she wore is specially treated with an antimicrobial in the fibers and a fluid barrier.
A study by the University of Virginia's Department of Infectious Diseases showed the Vextex fabric was "able to kill greater than 99.99-percent of our worst and most resistant gram negative organisms in our laboratory testing."
"Garments are part of what's known as the chain of transmission," said Ben Favret, president and CEO of Vestage. "They acquire, retain and can transmit microorganisms that cause infections."
The scrubs and lab coats used by several dozen doctors and nurses at Baptist are made by Florida-based company Vestage.
"About 20% of patients develop infections in healthcare institutions," Favret said.
Diane Raines, chief nursing officer, said Baptist took an interest because the treated scrubs add one more barrier of protection for patients and caregivers.
"Our infectious disease practitioners are wearing the lab coats. I'm wearing one now," she said, "With the idea being that we want to test it in real life for ourselves and see what we think. So far the feedback has been excellent."
Staff at Baptist hope by reducing the level of contamination, they can prevent transmission of the bacteria, protecting patients and themselves.
First Coast News