No handshakes, please. We’re doctors
First, it was ties. Then it was white coats. Now, physicians are being told handshakes with their patients could be spreading disease.
Dr. Mark Sklansky and colleagues from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles likened the health benefits of banning handshakes from the healthcare environment to bans on smoking in public spaces. has
Outliers to say, that’s a bit harsh.
Their essay was originally posted on the Journal of the American Medical Association website May 15, and it then appeared in print June 25—which coincidentally was the eve of National Handshake Day.
“Particularly in the current era of healthcare reform, innovative, practical and fiscally prudent approaches toward the prevention of disease will assume increasingly important roles,” Sklansky and colleagues wrote. “Regulations to restrict the handshake from the healthcare setting, in conjunction with more robust handhygiene programs, may help limit the spread of disease and thus could potentially decrease the clinical and economic burden associated with hospital-acquired infections and antimicrobial resistance.”
It sounds as if they’re serious. Then, as if to illustrate the lengths some doctors may go to avoid washing their hands, Sklansky and colleagues even suggest posting signs explaining that, “to protect your health and the health of those around you,” the healthcare setting had become a handshake-free zone.
Suggested replacements for the handshake included placing a hand over the heart, bowing, yoga’s “namaste gesture,” or simply waving.
Wait! That handshake could be hazardous to your