Re: Information "Industrial" disease

Tuberculosis used to be a major occupational risk for health care workers of 
all sorts. Seventy to a hundred years ago, perhaps a third of doctors and 
nurses contracted it, usually during their training, and about a tenth died 
of it. It's really difficult for us to conceive of risks of that magnitude 
associated with medical or laboratory practice. - The generation of surgical 
pathologists just past had a great many members who had abandoned careers in 
surgery after getting tuberculosis.

Treatment then was seven years in a sanitarium - with about a third of the 
patients dying - which could be anything from a Thomas Mann style "Magic 
Mountain" to a near prison existence.

I've personally worked with three pathologists who got tuberculosis on the 
job, one of whom died of complications from it. All were hospitalized at 
least three months. Dr. G.J., now nearing the end of an illustrious career in 
academic pathology, got it from a case he did at a medical examiner's office 
around 1962. He was hospitalized for several months. Dr. P.E., now in mid 
career in private practice, got tuberculosis during his residency, and had 
the diagnosis made by bronchoscopy (the most common way to make the diagnosis 
today - think of the risks that imposes on people doing the procedure and 
handling the specimens from it). And my former associate, Dr. H.G., was a 
heavy smoker with bad COPD who rather late in his career got tuberculosis 
from handling tissue from an AIDS patient with tuberculosis. He spent several 
months in a state tuberculosis hospital, and sustained additional lung damage 
from the disease, so that he died not too long afterward at about age 70 
about five years ago, though he probably did not have active tuberculosis 
when he died.

I have also known or known of some pathologists who probably got hepatitis on 
the job, one or two of whom died of it, but I don't have much specific 

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>