Intended for healthcare professionals

Minerva Minerva


BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 16 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1080

Fake fingernails may look clean and neat, but a brief study presented at a San Francisco meeting shows they are home to a host of potential pathogens, including yeasts (Detroit Free Press, 1999 October 5). Health workers, particularly nurses, should avoid them, says one researcher, or at least wear rubber gloves over the top. The study found that nearly three quarters of nurses with acrylic nails had pathogens on their hands compared with a third of nurses who were content with their own nails.

Prenatal sex selection is banned in the United Kingdom, Canada, and some parts of Australia, but one ethicist believes that parents with existing children should be allowed to choose the sex of their next one so they can complete a “balanced” family (Medical Journal of Australia 1999;171:373-5). There's no evidence that Australian parents would favour one sex over another, he says, and the state's infringement of parents' liberty is considerably more harmful than the social or individual consequences of sex selection.

Parents want to be with their children during invasive procedures in the intensive care unit (Archives of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine 1999;153:955-8). A small non-randomised study from the United States found that parents who were allowed to stay worried less about the procedure than parents who waited outside. …

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