The Deathoscope


I always laugh when a read those studies showing a doctor’s tie or jacket needs to be removed due to bacteria contamination. Why?  Because I know that those things hardly every touch the patient   Only two things touch the patient.   One is our hands and for years we have ben lectured about washing them or using antibacterial lotion afterwards.  We are finally getting that.  The other, surprise, is our stethoscope.    We use it on EVERY patient and no one talks about it.  I use an alcohol pad on mine but I am sure we could be doing even more.  I mean we go from patent to patient spreading the germs from the flu patient in room 6 right to the next lady’s back in room 7.  Well, it turns out I was right.  This is an issue.   A recent study showed that “stethoscopes tend to be more contaminated than the palms of physicians’ hands”.  How did we miss that?

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] 

  3 comments for “The Deathoscope

  1. Kurt
    March 9, 2014 at 9:01 am

    True but I disagree about ties. For funerals, weddings, black tie affairs and job interviews. I envied the surgeons who live in scrubs. I worked with a plastic surgeon as a student who never scrubbed. I never asked but likely developed an allergy. Was very fastidious about gloves though. I didn’t see a single infection while on his service. This sounds crazy but I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it for a couple of months.

  2. DAD
    March 5, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Last month I had to do a handwashing/antibacterial gel observation in the Perioperative areas. I found that staff from Pre-Op through PACU were mostly diligent in their hand washing between patients. What I was shocked to observe was that 99.9% of the Anesthesia staff (MD’s, CRNA’s) went from Pre-Op to OR to PACU and never washed their hands. NEVER. Yes, they used gloves during the procedure to protect themselves but that was it. It was an eye opener.

  3. tad hominem
    March 2, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Duh !! cuz you weren’t looking for it ! seems pretty obvious in hindsight. what else r u touching a patient with besides ur hands during an examination ???? now u just have to convince docs to clean the deathoscope in between patients (or patients to ask the docs if they have done it). good luck with that. selling the idea of hand cleansing between patients has been hard enough.

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