I just wanted to alert people to a new article I did for JAMA, which appeared on April 18, 2012 in the journal. It’s entitled Ask Me If I Cleaned My Hands and recounts my experiences with hand hygiene when I was a patient getting surgery several years ago. I can’t print the entire article here but you can find it by linking to the url above. I can quote from it a bit. So here is a bit from the beginning. I hope you will read it and think about some of the ideas in it. I was pleased that it was cited as one of JAMA’s 50 top viewed articles in April.
So here is an excerpt:
SEVERAL DAYS AGO, A FRIEND, WHO IS A MEDICAL EDU-
cator in a residency program at a medical school,
told me a tale. She was accompanying an intern as
they trailed alongside an attending physician who was
seeing patients in an out patient clinic. He
examined three patients in a row and did not clean his
hands before or after examining any of them….
This is about all I can show you, but article makes some suggestions about how to really make patients a part of the hand-hygience process. And believe me, the solution is not to expect patients to ask their doctors and nurses if they have washed their hands. We just won’t do it. It’s too scarry.
In fact, I wonder how many physicians and nurses have ever had patients ask them if they have cleaned their hands? I would love to know if that ever happens.
I hope people find the JAMA article of interest.