A cautionary tale

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 25 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1260
  1. James Burge, senior house officer ([email protected]),
  2. Jane Sword, consultant elderly care physician
  1. Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust, Exeter
  2. Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust.

    Hospital acquired infection has a nasty habit of striking just as the patient is getting better. This is never more apparent than on elderly care wards, where vulnerable patients often require a period of rehabilitation. During my four months as a senior house officer on an elderly care ward, I was particularly careful to clean my hands between patients, and to this end each bed was fitted with a bottle of alcohol gel. New arrivals on the ward could be forgiven for feeling surprised by each doctor's display of enthusiasm as he or she approaches with a smile and a vigorous rubbing of hands, and puzzled by the smell of alcohol not …

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