CLEAN CLOTHES FOR DOCTORS. The article that I posted on yesterday on whether hospital personnel should wear clean clothes says that “American hospitals operate on tight budgets and can’t afford to provide clothes and shoes to every worker. In addition, many hospitals don’t have the extra space for laundry facilities.” I don’t understand this resistance to trying to provide a sterile environment. Clean clothes are routine in nuclear facilities and places where computer chips are made. The importance of eliminating germs in hospitals has been known for over a hundred years, since the work of Semmelweis, Lister and Oliver Wendell Holmes (the father). (Holmes, the Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, is a model for this blog.)

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  1. Annalisa says:

    I’m completely with you on this, Dad. I suppose in the defense of hospitals, there are far more occasions for workers to change clothes in hospitals than in places where computer chips are made. There are also, I imagine, far more hospitals than there are computer chip manufacturing plants. But, as you said so succinctly, I don’t understand this resistance to trying to provide a sterile environment. Do they just wish the germs away and hope for the best?

    I recently read an excellent medical thriller by Tess Gerritsen called The Bone Garden that has its own take this issue. (I DON’T recommend the book to you, Dad, because it’s gory and lots of innocent people die, but the lesson is relevant here.) It’s not only a medical thriller, it’s a lesson on how doctors actually used to spread disease in hospitals (especially to laboring mothers) because of their unwashed hands. One of the main characters, Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894), was apparently a real-life doctor who came to advise medical practitioners in the U.S. to wash their hands. You can read about him on Wikipedia.

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