Saturday, March 14, 2009
Hand Hygiene and the People Who Refuse to Practice It
I was one of those weird kids who actually liked to bathe and was almost obsessed with washing my hands before eating or after using the bathroom. Because I think I’m perfect (kidding!), I just assumed that everyone else follows the same standard of hygiene that I do. However, the more time I spend in the ER observing people, the more I realize that a vast majority of people are either completely ignorant or completely filthy. I helped plenty of people to the washroom and they hand to be reminded to wash their hands after they had a (probable) C. diff filled BM. And then there were those charming folk that just flat out refused. The same people got highly offended when I refused to touch them without a pair of gloves on. I even tried the whole health teaching approach with a woman my age – she looked at me like I was telling her that I would be using leeches to treat her. When she was done staring at me with her mouth agape, she retorted by saying, “well I didn’t get any pee on my hand so what’s the point of washing and ruining my manicure?” Hearing that made me die a little on the inside. Yet another patient had to be told that if he didn’t wash his hands after wiping himself, he would literally be eating his own shit at dinner time. I shouldn’t be having to have that talk with a 40 something year old self professed business man. With hand hygiene eschewing patients running around the hospital, it’s no wonder that hospitals are such dirty places!