I could tell I was being watched as I walked into the neonatal intensive care unit.
I took off my white coat, folded my stethoscope in a pocket, and hung the coat in a closet. In a nearby sink I washed my hands for a full minute, scrubbing between each finger before drying my hands.
I approached a high-tech isolette and leaned in to examine my patient, the pink baby within.
A voice stopped me: “Doctor!”
There were footsteps behind me. I pulled back and thought, what did I miss? I retraced each step. Coat. Stethoscope. Hands.
The desk clerk pointed a finger. “Your ring, doctor. You forgot to take off your wedding ring.”
She was right. I rolled my eyes, pocketed my ring, washed again, and went back to my little patient.
Small interactions like these make hospitals safer for children by reducing rates of hospital-acquired infections. Now a new article shows exactly how much safer.
To read more, click on my story over at The Atlantic.