Another unexpected source of bacterial contamination appears to be the plastic backboards that emergency medical technicians use to transfer patients to a gurney. Such plastic boards help stabilize the patient for transfer to an ambulance. Once the patient has been transferred to a hospital emergency department the paramedics clean all their equipment including the plastic backboard they used for transport. Sadly, though, the cleaning process leaves a lot to be desired. A study of over 50 cleaned backboards revealed that each one was contaminated with a minimum of 11 different kinds of germs. One solution to the problem developed in part by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate is a new synthetic material called Board Armor. It prevents fluids from reaching the plastic backboard. This clean surface is changed after each patient to reduce the risk of cross contamination.
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