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July 2000

It's Time to Sweat the Little Things

Arch Surg. 2000;135(7):763-764. doi:10.1001/archsurg.135.7.763

WHILE IT may be in vogue to "not sweat the little things," maybe we should pay closer attention to some little things within our practice. Can we examine how we use antibiotics?

Recent reflection on antibiotics coupled with the concern for medical injury led to another evaluation of antibiotic use in our surgical practice.1,2 While antibiotics can be life saving, they can also cause adverse reactions. The risk-benefit ratio must always be assessed. Proper use is always defendable while improper use causes complications, some of which can be life threatening and can increase the total cost of care. Two specific areas where surgeons use antibiotics are surgical prophylaxis and treatment of intra-abdominal infection. Sweating over the little things involved in our use of antibiotics may be a timely activity.

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