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Monday, July 21, 2014

Gross! No handwashing in the hospital?!

(Shutterstock image)

I just read an article about how many doctors and nurses are NOT washing their hands when they visit patients in the hospital. Gross! Of the many times my kids were in the hospital due to asthma (14 times) I watched to make sure people were washing their hands.
My kids were REALLY sick when they were admitted to the hospital (usually because of pneumonia, RSV or smoke from forest fires.) In fact, Son #2 was in ICU twice. I can still remember how scary it was watching him struggling to breathe. 
You know your child is in REALLY bad shape when they have a heart monitor hooked up to their chest. The hospital wants to be able to monitor them because children can go into respiratory arrest (stop breathing) and die. From what I understand, if they stop breathing, then that causes their heart to stop beating (cardiac arrest) and they can die. The thought makes me shudder. We came so close to that several times with Son #2.......
The last thing you need is to have a nurse, doctor or respiratory therapist come into the room without washing their hands. I don't want germs from someone else!! If my child is in the hospital for pneumonia, I don't want them picking up the stomach flu, MRSA,  or some other nasty infection.
Read the article about how Vanderbilt University hospital started tracking hand washing. It's called "How a team of doctors at one hospital  boosted handwashing, cut infections and created a culture of safety."

A doctor's wife had knee surgery at Vanderbilt hospital, and he was shocked to see how many people coming into his wife's room weren't washing their hands. He was dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, so many people didn't realize he worked there. He asked everyone to wash their hands and decided they needed to make a change in their hospital. Over 5 years, their hand washing rates went from 58% - 96% and the number of infections also decreased (one of them by 80%!!)

If you are in the hospital with a loved one, make sure EVERYONE who comes into their room washes their hands. Don't be afraid to ask them to wash their hands. You (and your insurance company) are paying for your hospital stay. You have every right to ask people to wash your hands. 
Sometimes people just need a nice reminder....and we need to protect our loved ones any way we can.


  1. Here in Poland was big affair after similar situation. And last time was another, when one of our politicians has been infected HIV after not sterile blood in hospital.
    The conclusion is: You don't know Your hour or day. And You can be infected HIV or any other virus :P

  2. They tell the Vienna general hospital story to all introductory biology researchers. You should look it up, it's quite interesting and it was hundreds of years ago

  3. The guys name is ignaz Semmelweis, he introduced the standard of hand washing to prevent infections but this wasn't accepted until years after his death

    1. I remembered reading the story when I was school studying Public Health.

      There are so many things we know we SHOULD do, but people still don't do them.

      Wash your hands
      Wear a helmet
      Use your seat belt
      Don't use the phone will driving

      The list could go on and on. It drives me crazy!

      I wish all hospitals would enforce the hand washing rule. I mean, we learned about washing our hands in kindergarten, so we should all know how to do it, right??!!

    2. PS, I hope you are feeling better!! :)