Making Handwashing Part of the Routine

Regular readers of this blog know that I encourage patients to step up when they notice that a healthcare worker is getting ready to touch them and has not washed his/her hands.

Why? To protect oneself from MRSA and other possible deadly superbug infections, that’s why! It could mean the difference between life and death, at an extreme….

Imagine the smile on my face when I found Paul Levy’s blog. He’s the president and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He’s developed a routine for the doctors in his hospital to use for greeting each patient, which goes like this:

He has incorporated handwashing in his greeting to patients, as such, “Hello, I am Dr. Jones. I am going to wash my hands as we get to know each other.”

Three cheers! I love it. It’s simple, and effective, and makes the patient aware, too, of how important it is.

So let us patients take a page from Mr. Levy’s book. Whether you find yourself in the doctor’s office, hospitalized, in the ER, or wherever you are being attended to by healthcare personnel, why not use a greeting that’s just that simple, “I’m glad to see you doctor, and I appreciate that you will wash your hands before we talk.”

Or something like that…. you get the point. You’re putting the practitioner on notice without feeling as if you are embarrassing him or her.

Simple — but I guarantee it will work.

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2 thoughts on “Making Handwashing Part of the Routine”

  1. Thanks for the link, MR. Levy 🙂 (I’ll correct my original post.)

    If you can’t be a doctor, I’m glad you at least watch over their work. I like the way you think.


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Trisha Torrey
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