Most patients have the opportunity to see how the doctor handles the arms before examining. But was the stethoscope treated after the previous patient?
Specialists representing the Professional Association of Infectious and Epidemiological Surveillance set out to answer this question. As a result, very interesting information was published, based on studies conducted in clinics in the United States.
Experts argue that physicians only rarely subject their stethoscope to treatment - and even then, not every new patient. And this, despite the fact that such a measure is considered necessary to prevent the development of nosocomial infections. According to the instructions for the control of infections of the American CKZ, all instruments and devices of reusable use, including stethoscopes, must be subjected to mandatory processing.
"A stethoscope is used when examining patients several dozen times a day. The amount of all kinds of microorganisms that settles on it is potentially dangerous, since it can directly transmit the infection. Untreated stethoscope represents serious threat to health, no less than the untreated hands of a doctor, "says Linda Green, head of APIC.
Thanks to the actions of the researchers, a project for the decontamination of stethoscopes and the prevention of infectious diseases was launched from their submission. Specialists made a proposal to regularly use solutions and wipes on alcohol basis: at the same time, it is important to start using them from the student's period.
Employees of the Association are shocked that the overwhelming number of medical workers completely ignores the very fact of the need for processing such devices. Therefore, for many of them, the treatment of a stethoscope has become an innovation.
The representatives of epidemiological control conducted educational work with medical specialists, during which they reminded them of the importance of processing instruments: such rules have existed for a long time, and nobody canceled them.
Unfortunately, the subsequent experiments that were conducted over the next few months indicated that the educational work was practically not accepted by anybody: a huge number of bacteria were still found on the surface of the stethoscopes.
"We are not authorized to force physicians to process devices in an orderly manner. We can only state that to date, an overwhelming number of doctors do not pay due attention to the treatment of the stethoscope, thereby exposing people to considerable risk. It is necessary to change the culture of medical workers to the bottom, because the situation is unlikely to change in another way. We appeal to the health department and focus on this fact, "- says Dr. Green.
Specialists point out that on the surface of the stethoscope most pathogenic microorganisms, such as staphylococci, pseudomonas, clostridia, as well as antibiotic-resistant enterococci, were most frequently sown .