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New Bill Seeks to Better Protect Patients from Hospital Acquired Infections

Yesterday we reported on a new bill that was passed in our state General Assembly which seeks to better track the number of patients who are killed because of Illinois hospital acquired infections. We pointed out how nearly 100,000 patients die nationwide each year because of infections that they acquire while they are at the hospital being treated for other reasons. Virtually all of those deaths could be prevented if medical professionals take steps to limit the spread of those contagions.

One state is taking an innovative approach to tackle the problem-though not all advocates agree on its effectiveness. AMED News reports that the New York legislature is considering a bill to impose a dress code on physicians in the state to limit infections. The legislation would create a “hygienic dress code council” which would study the situation and possibly impose a ban on items like neckties, jewelry, wristwatches, and long-sleeved white coats.

This “bare below the elbow” system seeks to limit the vehicles for the transmission of infections. Some research indicates that clothing like neckties can be contaminated with bacteria. However, some opponents of the bill claim that there has not been a link found between the clothing infection and actually transmission to patients.

Those questioning the proposal believe that overall improvement in cleanliness efforts is more appropriate than outright bans on clothing. One doctor involved explained that “the real goal here is to adhere to good hand hygiene, isolation practices, gloving, barrier precautions-that’s where we’d put our money.”

Our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti have decades of experience acting as tireless advocates on behalf of patients who received substandard care at hospitals. Whatever the evidence indicates about the benefit of hospital dress codes, inadequate medical treatment is never acceptable. Please contact our offices if you or someone you know has faced similar complications following a hospital visit.

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