MS-3 · news · surgery

Washing hands

Doctor and Patient – Why Don’t Doctors Wash Their Hands More? – NYTimes.com.

Surgeons are, with good reason, the most hand-washing-happy crowd I know. Today I was with a surgeon in his office hours, and he did a minor procedure on a patient but was nevertheless as careful as he is in the OR.  Autoclaved the instruments.  Placed everything just so on a blue sheet.  Even got the special surgery gloves, which come individually wrapped (like gift chocolates, but made of latex!) instead of the standard ones on the wall.  He also prescribed the patient Levaquin afterwards, saying to me after she’d left the room, “I didn’t see any breach of sterile technique, but you can never be too careful.”

(Ok, overuse of antibiotics might be an issue.)

Bottom line is well summed up here:

Hand hygiene and sterile technique are so successfully maintained in operating rooms not because of the reminders that hang over scrub sinks, but because it is part of the culture and identity of those who work there.

For the rest of us, those Purell sanitizers are key.

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