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Infectious Disease Specialist

Q. What is an Infectious Disease Specialist?

A. An Infectious Disease Specialist helps to treat resistant infections. Antibiotic resistant bacteria are becoming more and more common, affecting patients in more profound ways. These seriously ill patients are at risk for more acute complications. In addition to patient care, I work with Infection Control Specialist Karen Frahm to decrease hospital infections, reminding people to wash their hands, and be aware of at risk patients.

Q. When do you treat patients?

A. As an Infectious Disease Specialist, I work with the patient's primary physician. Many times the physician will refer patients to me when a disease becomes complicated. In the past, infectious disease specialists were known as the primary care for HIV/AIDS patients. Now, the treatment available allows them to have their own primary physician manage their care. Many times I am called to assist in the hospital setting when an admitted patient becomes infected with a disease while in the hospital.

Q. How much of your practice revolves around the HIV/AIDS community?

A. I am not sure how much of my Bay City practice will deal with HIV/AIDS patients. Previously in Toledo Ohio, HIV/AIDS patients represented about 15 percent of my practice. Today, HIV/AIDS patients can often be cared for by their primary physicians.

Q. What diseases stand out to you as being most common?

A. People who have surgery can be classified at high risk of becoming infected. Fortunately, the numbers are very low, but if a patient does become infected, there is a good chance I will be seeing that person. Some of the most common diseases I see are tuberculosis, pneumonia, and MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphyloccocus Aureus), which is a mutated, very aggressive strain of staph infection.

Q. What made you want to specialize in Infectious Diseases?

A. Infectious disease many times can be cured and other diseases are"controlled." It always interested me from that standpoint, knowing there was the high chance I could cure an individual of his or her infection. I see a lot of interesting and challenging people and I enjoy the challenge.

Q. What are some things that can be done to prevent infectious diseases?

Many times being diagnosed with an infectious disease is just bad luck. However, by maintaining proper hygiene; i.e., cleaning scrapes, washing hands, be aware of other infected patients, people can prevent diseases. The most preventable is the hospital-acquired infection, and we are continuing to work towards that. The vast majority of infections happen outside the hospital with the common flu and cold. Inside the hospital, patients are more prone to bacterial infections.

Q. What types of tests/procedures are performed for infected disease patients?

A. By doing a complete history and exam of the patient, I can usually get a good idea of what disease they have. After diagnosis, I can follow-up with a specific treatment plan. Depending on how sick the patient is, blood cultures can be administered and sent to the lab to determine the type and strain of bacteria. Bacteria are getting more and more unpredictable, so by testing with a panel of antibiotics, we can determine proper treatment. Most viral diseases are left untreated and rely on the immune system to fight off the disease. With bacterial infections, antibiotics help the process along.

I am hoping to be a help to the hospital and the community. As things become more and more specialized and complicated, I hope to help the primary physician and other services to better prevent diseases while patients are admitted to the hospital, and treat those in need.

 

Dr Stuart can be reached in his office at:
the West Side Medical Mall, Suite 11
4175 Euclid Avenue, Bay City.
(989) 667-3185 (Office)
(989) 929-2391 (Pager)