The other day I received this wonderful response from a physician to my JAMA article and thought people might like to see it. Thank you so much Kirtikumar Shah for writing it and giving me permission to post it.
Ms. Suzanne C. Gordon,
I read your article in jama april 18,2012. I have been a practicing physician for last 38 yrs. in Houston Texas as internist and gastroenterologist. I agree with many points raised in your article. Sometime ago one of my family members had surgery in one the major reputable hospitals in Houston. Every where there were signs — ” it is o.k. to ask if your caregiver has washed his/her hands “– this is nice — but I did wonder if any patient would have the courage to ask this question.
The solutions described in your article can go a long way to solve this problem.
In my clinic I have a routine that I always wash or sanitize my hands in front of the patient — while talking to patient I say, ” let me wash my hands and then I will examine you. This way I make sure that the patient knows that I am washing my hands before the exam.- Not only that but I wipe my stethoscope with alcohol swab before each exam.
I also teach my students who may be with me in exam room that it is important to wash their hands in front of the patient so that there is no misunderstanding about whether we washed our hands or not.
I would like to forward your your article to local newspaper Houston chronicle and to the Harris County Medical Society medical newsletter.
Thanks for your article– it needs wider publicity in wall street journal and in new york times– also in american hospital asso. newsletter.”
Dr. Shah, thank you for writing this and I hope many other physicians and nurses will read it.
- Ask Me If I Cleaned My Hands
- New Article in Boston Globe
- Look on The Atlantic.com for article on Nurse Jackie