And now … for the truly paranoid …


… a research letter in this week’s issue of JAMA Internal Medicine has real implications for anyone who spends significant time in a hospital … as a patient, as a healthcare professional, or just as someone visiting a patient.

The message is: Stop by the bathroom and wash your hands on the way out!

What the research letter by Cao et al. has shown us is that there is now a significant risk that anyone who is in a hospital may come out of that hospital as a carrier of dangerous, multi-drug-resistant organisms like methicillian-resistant Staph. aureus and others.

Is this going to lead to serious infections for most people who visit a hospital briefly? No. It isn’t. It’s much more of an issue for men and women who are hospitalized for serious issues for significant periods of time. However, many hospitals are now much more dangerous places than they used to be because of the development of these drug-resistant bacteria and viruses. It doesn’t hurt to take that extra little bit of caution to avoid being one of the unlucky people to carry such a bug home and pass it on to a friend or to some other member of your family.

And if you spend the night in a hospital after a radical prostatectomy or other, similar procedure, you certainly have nothing to lose by washing your hands on the way out the door!

The core content of the paper and its implications is nicely addressed by an article on the Kaiser Health News web site.

One Response

  1. Amen.

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