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Are Doctors Washing Their Hands Enough?

Published: Feb 4, 2020 in Legal Blog, Medical Malpractice
Doctor washing hands

Good hand hygiene among healthcare providers is an essential part of preventing the spread of dangerous germs to patients. It also stops providers from getting sick. Yet, the CDC reports some physicians and other providers are only washing their hands less than half the time necessary to effectively reduce the spread of sickness.

When providers neglect hand hygiene, they endanger the lives of their patients. To ensure patients are protected, some local hospitals have installed tracking systems to monitor how often doctors are washing their hands.

Good Hand Hygiene

The CDC recommends two techniques for properly cleaning hands and eliminating germs. The standard techniques include:

  • Using soap and water anytime hands are visibly soiled, after caring for someone who has suspected or known infectious diarrhea, or after caring for someone who has been exposed to bacteria.
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately before touching a patient, handling medical devices, moving from a soiled site on the body to a clean one, after contact with bodily fluids, after removing gloves, and after touching a patient or their immediate environment.

In the course of a 12-hour shift, the average healthcare provider may clean their hands upwards of 100 times.

How Hand Washing Tracking Works

In the Chicago area, five hospitals are a part of a new initiative that will monitor how frequently doctors and other staff are washing their hands. Employees wear badges around their necks which are scanned every time they wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer; sensors are directly built into dispensers. The sensors are also designed to track employees as they enter and exit different areas to check if they are maintaining good hand hygiene every time they treat a patient.

Good Hand Hygiene Works

The good news is consistent hand hygiene is highly effective for preventing the spread of germs in clinical settings as well as schools, restaurants, and other public spaces. It has been shown to reduce the transmission of highly contagious illnesses like diarrhea, colds, stomach bugs, and illnesses that are more difficult to treat because they are resistant to antibiotics.

Hand washing is crucial in order to prevent the spreading of diseases and illnesses. Doctors who do not wash their hands enough and spread a preventable illness should be held responsible for medical malpractice when a patient gets sick due to their negligence.

Belleville Medical Malpractice Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Holds Healthcare Providers Accountable for Unsafe Practices

On average, one out of every thirty patients acquire an infection during a hospital visit and more than 70,000 die every year as a result. As patients, we trust our healthcare providers are taking every precaution to prevent the spread of disease, including practicing good hand hygiene. Our experienced Belleville medical malpractice lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC will fight on your behalf. We hold negligent doctors accountable for the medical mistakes that caused your health complications. Contact us online or call us at 618-277-3644 to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Swansea, we also serve clients in Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, St. Louis, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.