Open Windows

It turns out that closed windows in large hospital wards may increase patients’ risk of getting an infection.  Using a tracer gas to simulate how airborne infections spread, researchers of a recent study showed that open windows help ventilation in the ward and lowers the risk of airborne infection. The study in the current online issue of the Building and Environment Journal showed that when the windows were closed the risk of infection increased fourfold.   So, the question is, why aren’t windows able to be opened?   I know the answer but it is a pop quiz for you.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  10 comments for “Open Windows

  1. Carol
    April 25, 2013 at 9:37 am

    So the nurses either don’t throw the computers, or themselves out.

  2. M. Whitacre
    April 24, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    During and for decades after after the influenza pandemic it was assumed that closed building spaces were invitations to the transmission of respiratory infections. Steam heating systems were designed to keep buildings warm despite open windows in the middle of winter. The wheel in the sky keeps on turning….

  3. Dawn Osselmann
    April 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Make sure to tell us the answer next week, or something! I think it’s to stop pts from jumping and/or save costs on heating/cooling, since it’s all centralized.

    • Doug Farrago
      April 24, 2013 at 6:28 pm


      • Branden Tarlow
        April 25, 2013 at 12:47 am

        I thought you were going to say that. But they make better windows these days. Windows on all the new, fancy apartments don’t open wide enough for even a toddler to squeeze out. Still nice for a breeze.

  4. Keith Brown
    April 24, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    It keeps physicians from jumping to our deaths after realize what our REAL hourly pay is…

  5. Ladytapwatertillclear
    April 24, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Good ole Flo the Nightingale was right.
    Fresh air. One the ground floor….

  6. Deborah
    April 24, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Windows don’t open so patients can’t escape.

  7. Gene Flick
    April 24, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Our hospital had windows that would open about 10″. Then an end-stage cancer patient (who had lost a lot of weight) wiggled through one on the fifth or sixth floor and jumped. My recollection is that she lived, but with multiple fractures. After that, all the windows were limited to opening about 3″.

  8. Kathy Wire
    April 24, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Guessing it has something to do with the patients like the one I dealt with who decided to swan dive out of the 14th floor. Or the elderly gent who went out the window to go home….

    Even if you have a safe patient in the room, sometimes the others don’t stay where they belong.

    Another healthcare paradox.

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