Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 1, 2007

MMA to ministry: No neckties, please

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:56 pm

Star: PETALING JAYA: No neckties, please. Doctors want the Health Ministry to release them from regulations requiring them to wear the item while on hospital ward rounds.
“The point is that neckties are not the most frequently washed apparel and there have been studies that show that neckties carry contaminants that could cause infection,” said Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Datuk Dr Teoh Siang Chin.
“And when doctors are doing their clinical rounds, they dangle all over the place. And how many people wash their ties? They require dry cleaning and that can cost about RM15 per tie,” he said.
Dr Teoh, however, acknowledged that doctors who wore neckties inspired confidence and displayed a professional aura and that continuously washing one’s hands was the best way to prevent infection.
In a 2004 study, it was shown that the ties doctors wear carried infection-causing bacteria that could potentially be transmitted to patients.
The study, which looked at 42 neckties worn by doctors at the New York Hospital Medical Centre of Queens found that nearly half of the neckties contained bacteria which can cause dangerous conditions such as pneumonia and blood infections.
Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said the policy of requiring doctors to wear their white coats, shirts and neckties would not change unless there was a “body of evidence” which proved that neckties caused infections to spread.
“It is a long established policy that we have had since Merdeka. Doctors must maintain their dignity and dress properly,” he said.

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