Monday, June 25, 2018
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The Consumer

Handwashing in hospitals prevents infection

/ 01:30 AM March 08, 2017

At St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC), a basic staff rule such as handwashing is vital to the hospital’s operations.

Dr. Edgardo Cortez, SLMC president, described handwashing as the “single most important tool” to prevent infection.

While in St. Luke’s for a checkup, I asked Cortez about infection  because I knew three or four people who recently  passed away while confined in hospitals because of sepsis, a general term for a whole range of infections. I wondered if some hospitals were not as fastidiously clean and sterile as expected.


Cortez explained that infections are always a risk, no matter how hard hospitals try to prevent them. He pointed out that, in the first place, people who need to be confined in a hospital already have weakened immune systems.

Also, caregivers of hospital patients who do not practice good hygiene can unwittingly spread germs and viruses.

There are people as well who think of hospital confinement as an occasion for a get-together of families and friends, which increases the possibility of infections.

This is why the hospital discourages overstaying of patients, said Dr. Alejandro C. Dizon, SLMC vice president and chief quality officer (quality and patient safety division). He said that while the hospital has adopted several measures to prevent healthcare-related infections, SLMC tries to lessen the chances of infection by promoting handwashing.

St. Luke’s makes it easy for both staff and visitors to have clean hands by having soap in all washrooms and hand sanitizers in strategic places.

Dizon said SLMC has likewise adopted a rule that patients’ identities have to be verified with two kinds of information—full names and birth dates—every step of the way.

“Many things could go wrong because of bad penmanship,” Dizon noted. Mistakes in administering drugs, for instance, could occur because of illegible handwriting or unfamiliar abbreviations.

Before any surgery is conducted, patients are asked to confirm their identities and the procedure they expect to undergo, including which particular part of the body is involved.


Surgical tools are counted and recounted before and after operations, Dizon added.

Retail marketing training

Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship students of St. Paul’s University Quezon City are undergoing immersion in retail marketing, selling operations and business management until March 31 at Robinsons Malls’ Entrep Corner, Level 3, Robinsons Magnolia.

Paulinian Entrepreneurs consists of 24 student companies, including two senior high school groups. Theme of the exhibit is “Entrepaulinian Corner 2017 Paulinian Entrepreneurs: Repurposing Business, Transforming Society.”

Featured are various food items, including desserts and breads.

Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts. 1204 Makati City; fax 897-4793/94;  e-mail

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TAGS: Dr. Alejandro C. Dizon, Dr. Edgardo Cortez, good hygiene, handwashing, St. Luke’s Medical Center, St. Paul’s University Quezon City
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