Deadly Ties: IDC Proposes Hospital Ban on Infection Causing Neck Wear; Other Bacteria Carrying Clothing
The Independent Democratic Conference today urged a prohibition on doctors and other healthcare professionals wearing neck ties, jewelry and other items that studies indicate are carriers for potentially deadly hospital-borne infections.
against doctors and hospitals, lower insurance costs for care, and – ultimately – lower medical malpractice insurance costs.
“What your doctor wears around his or her neck can literally make you sick,” said Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx/ Westchester). “By making commonsense changes to the way that our health professionals dress in a clinical setting, we can prevent suffering, lower costs, and most importantly save lives.”
Healthcare facilities across the country are grappling with serious infections, such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA), which are spread through hospital stays and are resistant to sterilization techniques. Nationally, the number of reported MRSA infections skyrocketed from 2,000 in 1993 to 368,000 in 2005, (the most recent available numbers), according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The number of MRSA-related deaths in 2005 surpasses the number of suspected deaths from HIV/AIDS that year.
Further research has shown that neck ties worn by doctors and other medical personal are likely carriers of infection-causing bacteria. Specifically, a 2004 study at Queens Hospital found that 47 percent of the ties worn by medical staff at the hospital harbored illness causing bacteria. The study also noted that ties worn by doctors and other clinical staff were eight times more infectious than security guards ties.
The IDC has introduced legislation that will help establish a hygienic dress code for medical professionals. Under the legislation, a 25-member advisory council made up of experts appointed by the Commissioner of Health will be charged with developing the codes. Areas of examination would include:
Similar dress codes were implemented in other parts of the country with much success. For instance, a health center in St. Louis saw a 50 percent drop in reduction in infections when a hygienic dress code was provided.