BY MICHAELA GIBSON MORRIS
A Tupelo nurse has been recognized by a national organization for her part in heading off extra federal regulations.
North Mississippi Medical Center infection control nurse Julie McCord received an award from the Association for Professions in Infection Control and Epidemiology for her outstanding contribution and service at the group's conference in June.
McCord was lauded for her efforts to get the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to reconsider extra rules on infection control for tuberculosis. She began working on the issue in 1999 and the rule was withdrawn this year.
With help from U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., she testified twice before Congressional committees in 1999 and 2001, in addition to writing letters and making phone calls.
"I learned you can have an impact," McCord said. "They really did listen."
Infection control professionals use guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control to prevent the spread of tuberculosis, a highly contagious respiratory disease, McCord said. The proposed OSHA regulations would have layered extra requirements on top of the CDC recommendations that would have done little if anything to prevent the spread of TB, McCord said.
"We didn't need more costly standards," McCord said.
McCord also brought a personal perspective to the issue. Her mother died in 1995 from complications caused by procedures used to treat her tuberculosis during the 1950s.
"I told (the congressional committee) if I thought for one minute that this rule would prevent even one case of TB, I wouldn't be sitting here," McCord said.
Jetting off to Washington, D.C., meant that McCord needed a lot of support on the home front from the hospital and her family.
"Without that, this would not have been possible," McCord said.
McCord was able to apply the things she had learned during her work on the TB rule to a personal matter, getting the proper services for her son Connor, 6, who is autistic.
"It inspired me to take action," and ask for help for her son, McCord said.