Commentary

Is clothing at fault, or physician hygiene?


 

“THE HOSPITAL HAS A NEW DRESS CODE FOR ITS VECTORS—ER, DOCTORS,” BY ROBERT L. BARBIERI, MD (NOVEMBER 2008)

Dr. Barbieri’s editorial about the clothing worn by physicians in hospitals prompts a few comments:

  • In hospitals where methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been isolated from the neckties of physicians, has there been an actual increase in MRSA in patients attended by the physicians? If so, I wonder about the general cleanliness, laundering habits, handwashing, and patient-care techniques of those physicians. Having a dispenser of spray foam hand cleanser mounted outside the door of each patient room would be of benefit.
  • Perhaps all hospital and medical personnel should be instructed in proper handwashing techniques.
  • One solution to the problem of clothing serving as an inadvertent vector of infection is making a “scrub” top standard hospital dress, especially among male physicians.

S. Sandford Estes, MD
Naples, Fla

Dr. Barbieri responds:

Thanks to Dr. Estes for his excellent advice. As I wrote in the editorial, “The best approach to reduce the risk of nosocomial infection is regular handwashing or the use of a hand disinfectant before and after seeing each patient.”

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