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Untold Health Stories by William Heisel

William Heisel, a well-respected health journalist, blogger and investigative reporter, has brought us an exceptional three-part series of blog posts about health workers inadvertently passing along communicable pathogens that may lead to deadly infections, primarily because of their choice to wear contaminated clothing (scrubs) in public. He calls it his “scrubs series” and it all began with a post titled “Hospital scrubs and sandwiches should not mix.” Find it online at http://tinyurl.com/4yhtfrl. The series features the thoughts of Dr. David C. Martin, a retired Sacramento anesthesiologist a former assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at UC Davis Medical Center. According to Heisel, Dr. Martin “has a niche mission that Antidote has never seen championed before. He wants to rid America’s restaurants of medical staff eating in scrubs.” Dr. Martin goes on to make a compelling case over the three part series. Agree with him or not, I love his single minded passion for this issue. It is a passion I share and have written about in the past. Lots of people pay lip service to this public health issue, but it is amazing to me to see how little progress we make in reducing illness and death caused by these largely avoidable infections that are now moving beyond the walls of the hospital. Dr. Martin continues the theme in Part Two of the series titled “Superbugs may show up wearing hospital scrubs.” Find it online at http://tinyurl.com/4yhtfrl.

As you might expect, the series has stirred up some controversy. After the first two parts of the series ran last week, Heisel commented on the reaction among healthcare professionals:

“The idea of telling health care workers they should not wear their scrubs outside the hospital lit up the social media world this week. Dr. David C. Martin, a retired Sacramento anesthesiologist who abhors the too-casual practice of scrubs on the street, has hit a nerve.”

The final segment in the series is titled “Hospital scrub scrapping, and patient safety, can start with one tough conversation.” You can find it at http://bit.ly/edyBce.

I want give a ton of credit to William Heisel and Dr. Martin for bringing us this series and for stirring up public discourse. Well done!

William Heisel has reported on health for most of his career. His work as an investigative reporter at the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register exposed problems with the fertility industry, the trade in human body parts and the use of illegal drugs in sports. He helped create a first-of-its-kind report card judging hospitals on a wide array of measures for a story that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He was one of the lead reporters on a series of stories about lead in candy, a series that also was a finalist for the Pulitzer. Heisel writes about investigative health reporting and occasionally breaks news on his blog, Antidote. You can follow his on Twitter @wheisel.

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

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