Cleanliness is still of minor import

What will it take to get medical professionals to wash their filthy, germ-infested hands before leaving one patient to go to another? This isn’t new, of course. It’s been going on since the middle of the 19th century.

Ignaz Semmelweis in 1847 made the connection, and was pilloried. Joseph Lister, in the mid-1860s, was intelligent enough to make a similar connection. Unfortunately, North America wasn’t having any of that at the time.

They still aren’t.

McGill University Health Centre network asked staff at its various hospitals about their handwashing habits last year.

One in four doctors in some wards reported washing their hands between patients, the audit found. The best rates were seen in the intensive care units, where 60 per cent of doctors washed up between patients.

And even when some businesses try to enforce a hand-washing edict in British Columbia, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal forces employees not to wash their hands.

Please continue reading after you have finished gagging and upon digesting that little morsel.

For those of you who like to see your doctor all dressed up and looking professional in white lab coat and tie, take a look at this.

Now then, go back to bed, take two aspirin and call someone who loves you in the morning. Oh, and write your will if you call a doctor.

2 thoughts on “Cleanliness is still of minor import

  1. I’ve noticed that my doctors and dentists all want to shake hands with me. You have no idea how much that scares the living daylights out of me, because I obviously never know where those hands have been. Have they most recently been under a tap, catching some aqua pura, or have they been touching some putrid part of a patient who is hell-bent on the road to death and the associated destruction of mankind as I know it?

    A few years ago, while in my mother’s hospital room, I watched in horror as a doctor wearing an open white lab coat and a tie walked into my mother’s room, washed his hands with an alcohol solution I had put on the night table, and then proceeded to bend over my mother and let his flailing tie meander all over her.

    I wasn’t happy, but discretion is the better part of medical care.


  2. Oh my.

    I have to say, when I have gotten poked and prodded by a doc, usually while they are wrapping up their diagnosis (and I am thinking ‘get out of the room so I can get dressed again!’) they are washing their hands at the same time.

    Maybe I just have appropriately germ-o-phobic docs.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.