Wash your hands, doc

By Mario
Published: Friday 15 October 1999

Despite physicians being aware of the seriousness of hospital-acquired infections, some of them do not wash their hands between seeing patients, thus helping spread infections. For example, a study from the UK showed that some senior physicians washed hands just twice during 21 hours of ward rounds. On an average, it was as low as 10 per cent of the expected rate. The analysis showed a serious attitudinal problem among the medics. The Handwashing Liaison Group (HLG) of the UK, comprising some professional health societies and concerned physicians, got the department of health to issue an appeal to physicians and other health professionals to comply with this basic public health measure. Interestingly, HLG asked senior physicians to emulate their juniors, who washed hands more frequently ( British Medical Journal , Vol 318, No 7185).

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