Under the glove: Dr. Yasser Abdalla
Dr. Yasser Abdalla is the Head of the Neurology Clinic at Nordwest Hospital in Sande, Germany.
Dr. Abdalla suffers from a latex allergy, and is outspoken on the challenges of finding surgical gloves that do not provoke a reaction.
‘COVID-19 has made us become even more aware of hygiene and contact in the hospital.’
He is a great supporter and advocate for double gloving as best-practice surgical safety technique, and never works without double gloves to ensure optimum outcomes for both the surgeon and the patient. Dr. Abdalla is a long-time advocate of Biogel gloves, and helped to develop the Biogel® PI Micro.
How has COVID-19 impacted your work?
The COVID-19 pandemic had an immediate effect on my work as a surgeon. In my hospital, we cancelled all elective surgeries, meaning we had less to do, and even today we have fewer patients than we did prior to the pandemic. The hospital introduced vital measures to increase staff protection, and we now wear masks at all times without exception, as well as gloves outside the operating theatre. These measures have been very effective, and as a result, we have had no infections in the hospital since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 has made us become even more aware of hygiene and contact in the hospital. We now avoid making contact with patients where possible and safe to do so, and we wear masks practically everywhere within the hospital. The hygiene rules have been fine-tuned, but as far as protocols go in relation to gloves and scrubs, not much has changed. We have relied on industry to provide us with the PPE (Personal protective equipment) needed to keep this standard of hygiene at 120%.
Why is double gloving important to you in the operating theatre?
Double gloving gives me a feeling of safety, so I never work without double gloving. If a surgeon says they have never seen or experienced a needlestick injury, then I don’t think they have ever done an operation. Personally, experiencing a needlestick injury has changed my behaviour to such an extent that I now only operate using double gloves. Even with sterile washing, there is always bacteria on the skin that is transferred to the patient’s wound when a glove fails. Double gloving therefore represents safety for both the surgeon and the patient.
Why do you choose to use Biogel gloves in the operating theatre, and how do Biogel’s
latest gloves support you at work?
I have used Biogel surgical gloves for 28 years, ever since I became a neurosurgeon. What I value is the comfort, practical safety and tactile feedback. In neurosurgery, accuracy is indispensable, and the new Biogel gloves give me this, one hundred percent. More importantly, they feel comfortable and safe and this is paramount, as well as minimising postoperative wound infections. It’s simple: if I discover a glove tear early, the pathogens on my skin are not transferred to the patient, so that source of infection and risk is removed. I am extraordinarily satisfied with Biogel’s latest gloves, and I can’t praise the PI Micro enough.
How has your latex allergy affected your work, and have you experienced contact dermatitis?
I suffer from a latex allergy, which I developed due to latex operating theatre gloves. This nearly caused me to hang up my professional tools, until I found the right gloves to allow me to carry on my work. If I hadn’t found the right gloves, the only alternative would have been to stop operating. I have not yet had contact dermatitis, but if I had, it would increase the limitations at work, because I would have to change to a different glove formulation to prevent contact dermatitis.
What about the Biogel PI UltraTouch S appeals to you?
The UltraTouch S is something I would try out because healthcare professionals with latex allergies are increasingly developing more cross-allergies, and you wouldn’t want to add contact dermatitis to that mix. If there’s a way to prevent that, then I’m interested. I personally think it’s necessary to equip the whole operating theatre team with gloves that reduce the risk of contact dermatitis. The UltraTouch S gloves would mean, in any case, one less inconvenience or illness. Who wants contact dermatitis?
Why is it important that you and your team are equipped with high-quality products?
High-quality products are indispensable to my work, and I believe that all members of the surgical team should be given the same equipment, otherwise it’s a false economy. It’s a matter of safety, comfort at work and ultra-sensitivity in the glove. Why shouldn’t the whole team benefit from all these advantages?
Why should the hospital reduce its budget for patient and doctor safety now that we have more or less the same turnover as before COVID-19? Reducing surgeries are one thing, but safety must be maintained at a high level, and surgical teams should be equipped with reasonable quality products. If I can’t manage to treat ten patients, then I will only treat eight patients at a good standard, not ten patients at a higher level of risk. The safety of doctors and patients is paramount in our work.
At Mölnlycke®, everything we do is about supporting the performance of our customers. This means supplying them with the most reliable – and most precise – equipment possible. This commitment begins with the design and engineering of Biogel® gloves, and flows right through to the OR.