“Researchers cultured bacteria from the fingertips, palms and stethoscopes of three doctors who had done standard physical examinations on 83 patients at a Swiss hospital. They tested for the presence of viable bacterial cells, looking specifically for the potentially deadly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.
“That bacteria are found on stethoscopes is “not a surprise,” said ….. Dr. Didier Pittet, a professor of medicine at the University of Geneva Hospitals. He cleans his own stethoscope with alcohol swabs after each examination, but “most physicians do not,” he said, adding, “We don’t have any easy solutions. It may be time to have one stethoscope per patient, at least in I.C.U.’s, but this is impractical in a large hospital with many patients. It’s embarrassing because we don’t have any guidelines.”
*to read the full NYTs article “Stethoscopes as Germ Carriers” by Nicholas Bakalar, highklight and click on open hyperlink http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/27/stethoscopes-as-germ-carriers/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
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