Is your doctor’s necktie transmitting resistant bacteria to your hospitalized loved-one? Quite possibly. The New York Legislature is currently considering a bill that would prohibit all health care professionals from wearing neckties or jewelry, which have long been known to carry bacteria. If the bill passes, an advisory council of experts would develop a hygienic dress code for all types of healthcare providers and most likely include rules such as no neckties, long lab coats, wrist watches, or jewelry for physicians and hospital workers — all of which can harbor bacteria. I. D. badges should be cleaned regularly, and “germier” long-sleeved shirts should be replaced with short-sleeved shirts.
It’s worth noting that similar policies in hospitals in St. Louis and in Indiana have resulted in greater than 50 percent reductions in hospital-acquired infections.
Coincidentally, ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross and Jody Manley both attended a presentation by the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths (RID) yesterday, during which ACSH Chairman and RID President Betsy McCaughey spoke on the very same topic. “We want to advise patients to speak up,” says Dr. Ross, noting that “hospital patients are too often fearful of questioning the hygiene standards of their caregivers. The proposed legislation would empower patients to point out a nurse or doctor’s violation of these standards.” He adds, “Any doctor who resents such an inquiry is acting in an unprofessional manner.”