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    Monday, March 1, 2010


    In June,2009 the American Medical Association considered Resolution 720, which advocates a new dress code for doctors "due to evidence that neckties, long sleeves and other clothing items and accessories have been implicated in the spread of infections in hospitals." An AMA committee is seeking solid scientific evidence before it brings the matter to a vote.
    The British Medical Association already decided the issue. It recommended in 2006 that physicians jettison "functionless" articles of clothing, including neckties, "as superbugs can be carried on them."

    Neckties are rarely, if ever, cleaned. When a patient is seated on the examining table, doctors' ties often dangle perilously close to sneeze level. In recent years, a debate has emerged in the medical community over whether they harbor dangerous germs. Several hospitals have proposed banning them outright. Some veteran doctors suspect the anti-necktie campaign has more to do with younger physicians' desire to dress casually than it does with modern medicine. At least one tie maker is pushing a compromise solution: neckwear with an antimicrobial coating.

    An 2004 analysis of neckties worn by 42 doctors and medical staffers at the New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens found that nearly half carried bacteria that could cause illnesses such as pneumonia and blood infections. That compared with 10% for ties worn by security guards at the hospital.

    But many doctors favor ties for the air of formality they lend the profession. Professionals say neckwear conveys "respect for patients" and shouldn't be jettisoned. That has turned into an opportunity for SafeSmart Inc. The St. Augustine, Fla., company sells ties treated with a stain-resistant coating that the company says thwarts microbes.Independent lab tests, show the coating "repels bacterial contamination." Two years ago, her firm rolled out a line of ties aimed at doctors. One client is Wilson Memorial Hospital, north of Dayton, Ohio. The institution's infection-control committee recently advised physicians to keep their arms bare and scrubbed from the elbows down, and their ties tucked away. Some doctors quit wearing ties, but not everyone was willing. So the committee bought a batch of antimicrobial ties. They're black and gold and sport the caduceus, the symbol of the medical profession.

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    For any treatment of your own medical condition you must visit your local doctor, with or without our article[s]. These articles are not to be taken as individual medical advice.

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