New Haven (WTNH) - Dr. David Katz joined us again on Good Morning Connecticut
Weekend to talk about "convenient peril"- why so many Americans are
sacrificing safety for convenience.
Dr. Katz provided us with some insight on how to deal with the
trade-off between peril and convenience.
"Convenient perils" are threats that we can only fix by giving
up conveniences, such as driving while talking or texting on cell
phones. The nonprofit National Safety Council compares talking or
texting while driving to drunken driving.
A study by the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis found that cell
phone use contributes to 6 percent of all crashes. That represents
636,000 crashes, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths each
year, plus a financial cost of $43 billion.
Another example of a convenient peril is the danger of dirty
scrubs and labcoats worn by hospital personnel. More information
about this shocking finding is below.
The following information was provided by Dr. Katz:
You see them everywhere -- nurses, doctors and medical
technicians in scrubs or lab coats. They shop in them, take buses
and trains in them, go to restaurants in them, and wear them home.
What you can't see on these garments are the bacteria that could
Dirty scrubs spread bacteria to patients in the hospital and
allow hospital superbugs to escape into public places such as
restaurants. Some hospitals now prohibit wearing scrubs outside the
building, partly in response to the rapid increase in an infection
called "C. diff." A national hospital survey released last November
warns that Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections are sickening
nearly half a million people a year in the U.S., more than six
times previous estimates.
The problem is that some medical personnel wear the same
unlaundered uniforms to work day after day. They start their shift
already carrying germs such as C.diff, drug-resistant enterococcus
or staphylococcus. Doctors' lab coats are probably the dirtiest. At
the University of Maryland, 65% of medical personnel confess they
change their lab coat less than once a week, though they know it's
contaminated. Fifteen percent admit they change it less than once a
month. Superbugs such as staph can live on these polyester coats
for up to 56 days.
Do unclean uniforms endanger patients? Absolutely. Health-care
workers habitually touch their own uniforms. Studies confirm that
the more bacteria found on surfaces touched often by doctors and
nurses, the higher the risk that these bacteria will be carried to
the patient and cause infection.
For more information, and to read Dr. Katz's column, visit his