Reviews Book

Hospital Infection: From Miasmas to MRSA

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 11 December 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1410
  1. Leyla Sanai, consultant anaesthetist (
  1. Glasgow

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    Graham A J Ayliffe, Mary P English

    Cambridge University Press, £24.95/$38, pp 274

    ISBN 0 521 53178 0

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    Next time you wash your hands before or after examining a patient, stop and consider how your action would have been viewed 150 years ago. Your colleagues would have looked at you askance; although a few would have been familiar with the work of various doctors—including John Pringle, James Lind, Alexander Gordon, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Ignaz Semmelweis—who advocated washing yourself before contact with patients, most would have told you derisively that washing would not affect the miasmas, or …

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