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Reducing Hospital Infections: A Stethoscope Strategy

When a patient comes in with an infection related diagnoses, efforts are often undertaken to keep that pathogen from spreading to other patient rooms.  In British hospitals they’ve banned ties and long sleeves.  At Happy’s hospital we place a dedicated stethoscope in the patient’s room which is then shared by all health care workers caring for the patient.  And that stethoscope shall remain forever in that patient’s room.

At Happy’s hospital, the dedicated stethoscopes look like they were made in a Chinese toy factory.  I know that the most important part of auscultation happens between the tips of the stethoscope, not the scope itself..  But there have to be some expectations that what you use has some real functionality.

I’ve heard that some hospitals have real honest to God expensive fully functional dedicated stethoscopes that are chained down in the room.  I can only imagine what the patient is thinking when they see a big metal chain whip them in the back of the head for the seventh time in two days.
Oops.  Sorry ’bout that.
I suppose if you’re going to go high tech, you don’t want the poor primary care docs stealing them for their clinic because they can’t afford to buy their own.

*This blog post was originally published at A Happy Hospitalist*

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