Doctors Caught Not Washing Hands Despite Measles Exposure In Quebec

Only half of the Outaouais hospital staff wash their hands before seeing patients.
Doctors Caught Not Washing Hands Despite Measles Exposure In Quebec

The staff at institutions run by the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l'Outaouais (CISSSO) have a poor hygiene record, according to Radio-Canada and a survey they performed which followed staff across Quebec between last April and January. 

Only one in two staff members wash their hands before seeing patients. This is amongst the lowest rate of hand-washing in Quebec.

The news comes amidst reports of a measles outbreak at Montreal's McGill University Health Center (MUHC).

READ ALSO: Warning: Potential Measles Exposure In Montreal At McGill University Health Centre

TL;DR Only half of staff members in health facilities overseen by the CISSSO wash their hands before seeing patients. This information comes on the heels of a measles outbreak currently affecting Montreal, which was possibly spread by a staff member.

"In the operating room, communication is key. We all have an important role to play. Just like the human body, we are a system and need to work together,” emphasizes @cusm_muhc perfusionist Nissa Poisson-Thomas.

March 29, 2019

This hand-washing compliance seems astoundingly low, and it is. However, the reality is that not all healthcare staff wash their hands before seeing patients.

Doctors are especially bad when it comes to washing their hands. When looking at the compliance of doctors at the CISSO, the compliance rate dropped from one-in-two to one-on-three.

Let that sink in.

According to the president of the association that represents physicians in western Quebec, this low hand-washing rate is due to the immense pressure doctors are under, as they run quickly from one patient to another.

What is astounding is that the province does not expect all health care practitioners to wash their hands every time they see a patient.

Press release : Possible #measles exposure at #MUHC Glen (adult) Site. The MUHC is now in the process of identifying and informing all patients and personnel potentially affected. Read more here :

April 8, 2019

Quebec only aims for a hand-washing compliance of 75%. Last year, the province-wide average was 61%. 

This news follows reports that an employee at the MUHC is a carrier for a virus, and that any non-vaccinated patient who was at the Glen site from March 23 to March 27 may be affected.

Measles is a very contagious disease that can be caught just by being in a room where an infected person spent time. It is spread "when a person infected with the measles virus breathes, coughs, or sneezes."

The CISSO has stated that they will be implementing a plan of action to deal with the reports.

Amongst other things, they will be re-training staff and posting continuous reminders for their employees.

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