Uses for the STAL device
During intubation and extubation patients often require suctioning. Patients usually are gagging or coughing after extubation and may have mucous and blood in their oropharynx. By using the STAL Shield anesthesiologists and nursing staff will reduce their exposure to airborne particles and direct contact to patient bodily fluids. Universal precautions are not usually used in these controlled environments. However there is still a risk in these situations. The STAL Shield is an easy, convenient and economical method of reducing infectious and contamination risks. The STAL Shield should be an essential piece of equipment on all suction devices in the operating room and anesthetic recovery rooms.
The emergency room environment is unpredictable and volatile. Crisis can develop at any time so being prepared is essential. In the emergency room we do not know our patients so we have to assume the worst case scenarios for every patient. We always have to assume that they may be an infectious risk to us and others. This has become even more the case with the knowledge we have been gaining on the spread of respiratory diseases in the last few years from swine and bird flus. The STAL Shield helps reduce the infection risk by catching the respiratory droplets close to the source before they become airborne.
Emergency medicine practice is based on the ABCs. Airway skills require getting control and protecting the airway. Our patients in the ER are often brought to us when control of the airway is required immediately. These patients more often than not do not meet the anesthesia guidelines for having an empty stomach, and more than likely they are vomiting up the contents of their stomach while we are trying to protect their airway. Suctioning is essential for us to do our job but we all know that this often triggers patients to gag and vomit more. The STAL Shield protects you while you are trying to protect them.
Emergency departments take care of a large number of the vulnerable and dispossessed in our society. Unfortunately we all know that drug addicted and mentally ill have a much higher chance of being infected carriers of multiple infectious diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, and tuberculosis to name a few. These patients also present to us with facial trauma and can bleed into their pharynx causing them to cough and aerosolized their blood just as you are attempting to suction them. The STAL Shield helps protect us from being contaminated by blocking the spray that occurs with a cough or gag.
Universal Precautions with facial masks and shields are required for high risk patients. The STAL Shield adds to effectiveness of Universal Precautions by reducing the contamination load that is being projected onto you. It is much more preferable not to be sprayed with blood and mucous in the first place. Better to stop the contamination at the patient rather than on you. None of us like being sprayed with blood, and we like it even less if we are concerned the blood may contain an infectious vector. The STAL Shield is a required adjunct for airway care in the emergency department. Make sure your department has this important safety device.