They look so clean, so antiseptic, those doctors in their white coats. Their white lab coats are iconic, having been worn since the turn of the 20th century. Before that, physicians wore street clothes even while performing surgery.
But now, the American Medical Association is considering a resolution that would recommend hospitals ban doctor's white coats. Holy Cow!
AMA MAY SAY 'NO' TO DOC'S WHITE COATS
The AMA (Is there anything 'holier' in medicine?) has cited evidence that the garment contributes to the spread of infection. Apparently, a number of studies have shown that the lab coats hold a lot of bacteria, potentially harmful.
Wait a minute. Wouldn't any clothing do the same thing -- white coat or street clothes? Of course they would. So, getting rid of the white lab coat doesn't really mean a damn thing, does it? Rutt-row! Could the great AMA be leading up to suggesting nudist doctors?
WILL PHYSICIANS GO NUDE IN HOSPITALS?
Well, wait just another minute now. If doctors go nude in the hospitals, they'll have to shower between patient-examinations and surgeries. Nope, they won't do it. I know because all they have to do now is wash their hands. Just their hands. You'd think that comes automatic with physicians, right? Wrong.
DON'T KILL ME DOCTOR
This post is a follow-up to the Ethic Soup article "Don't Kill Me Doctor: Wash Your Hands. In this article, we talked about the National Quality Forum statistic that less than 50 percent of doctors follow hospital hand-washing rules. The odds that your doctor will have clean hands are about the same as flipping a coin. Who wants to take that gamble?
Methicillin-resistant staph aureus, or MRSA, is the strain of a once-innocuous staph infection that has become invulnerable to first-line antibiotics and kills more people every year in the U.S. than the AIDS virus. In the majority of cases MRSA is contracted in hospitals.
HOSPITALS ARE DESPERATE
Hospitals are desperate to get doctors to simply wash their hands and have taken to measuring their liquid soaps and using hidden cameras to see if physicians are really washing their hands. The hospitals are also threatening doctors with losing their jobs or hospital privileges if they don't wash up. In Houston, at both the Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital and the Ben Taub General Hospital, laminated handouts now come with every patient's first meal urging patients to "gently remind your health care providers to wash their hands and wear gloves." Don't you just love the "gently." You wouldn't want to upset the dirty doctor!
DIRTY HANDS SPREAD INFECTION
And now the AMA may decide to toss out the doctor's white coat to keep from spreading infection. WAKE UP AMA! You can't get the majority of your physician-members who go into hospitals to wash their hands -- and dirty hands are the Number One way hospital infection spreads. Sadly, some people who go to hospitals for a minor surgery end up dying because they caught MRSA in the hospital.
Come on now, let's hear the AMA admit what's really going on. And medical consumers beware -- don't be embarrassed and neglect to ask your doctor directly if he or she has washed their hands. Better yet, tell them: "Don't kill me doctor -- wash your hands." Maybe that will actually get their attention. After all, there is a wash basin in every physician examining room and hospital room, so they have no excuse, and you can watch them. If they claim that they just washed their hands before coming into your room, ask them to humor you and do it again.
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