Your Doctor Has Dirty Hands…

Can These Hands Kill?…

Well possibly, Its a surprising thing to learn that on average only 40% of doctors comply with hand washing standards. These numbers are surprising to most considering the image of hospital cleanliness is seen as being extremely high. This problem is not just a problem in the US but it even reaches to Canada’s health system where some hospitals report that over 90% of Canadian doctors failed to wash their hands properly. These results are even more troubling considering that fact that these are some of societies most highly educated members. The very idea that a fry cook doesn't wash their hands maybe concerning enough to forgo a big mac but many can’t imagine the same from one profession that concerns life and death.

The CDC has found that on average doctors and nurses wash their hands anywhere between 40 and 50% of the time. Even after combating the problem with educational efforts to try to boost compliance unfortunately the results were abysmal. Some other state health associations started to hire literal spys to monitor doctor’s hand washing procedures. The results from the spys are inconclusive but there is something being done that has been proven highly effective.


Thats right, surveillance cameras have been proven to increase compliance. In some cases compliance rates went from under ten percent to over 80 percent. Many hospitals are looking into ways of solving the problem without big brother but many are asking why. A patient study was done to ask patients about how they felt about being watched during surgery and an overwhelming majority felt it was a good thing and even some wanted to pay for a copy of the recording. 81% of the people who responded to the survey were in favor of the idea, talk about a overwhelming response!

So if the patients don’t mind it who is stopping it? Well it doesn't seem to be the hospitals, it seems to be related to opposition from the doctors. Many doctor’s advocates argue that this will only diminish morale and increase suspicion. In a highly litigious society when people are sued over hot coffee the doctors are afraid of what might happen. However the opposition seems to be in a loosing battle because of other concerns like wrong site surgeries and patient safety. With more hospitals turning to the use of surveillance the question for patients is are you willing to go to a hospital without surveillance?

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