Maureen Dowd's column in yesterday's New York Tlmes dealt with the high incidence of death from infection in US hospitals, as well as people's reluctance to questions a doctor's practices. She speaks from experience, because her brother died in a hospital. The two issues are related, because studies have shown that doctors transmit a lot of the infections on their clothes or hands.
Just having spent time in a hospital, I observed both of these issues. People everywhere are beholden to and in awe of doctors. In Germany, they achieve god-like status. I am not afraid to ask questions and demand explanations, even contradicting these austere figures at times.
I can understand why doctors can be short on information and brief in time. Patients seem to demand attention, often unnecessarily, and doctors are over-worked. Each receives the time judged necessary. I cannot complain about the treatment or attention I received.
As far as hygiene goes, I did not fear infection. Each room had a hand sanitizer beside the door. I noticed how doctors and nurses sanitized their hands upon entering the room and when leaving. No one wore a necktie (mentioned by Dowd as a carrier of infection). I wonder if US hospitals are so generously outfitted with hand sanitizers. Perhaps they were not included in the recently fought battle over health-care, so hospitals don't feel obliged to spend the money.
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.