Do Your Doctor's Rubber Gloves Really Protect You From Germs?

Posted By Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge || Dec 28, 2011

A recent study published in the Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology Journal focused on the number of doctors and nurses who do not wash their hands before and after using rubber or latex gloves. Skipping this simple step can cause harm to both healthcare workers and patients. This came as a surprise to many in the medical community.


Although many believe that latex gloves create an impermeable barrier to germs and bacteria, this is a myth.

One recent study led researchers to conclude that as many as 30 percent of all latex gloves allow bacteria and germs to pass through. Following this study some professionals are studying the types of latex and rubber gloves currently in use in the medical community. There is speculation that the thickness of gloves can affect the permeability and the transfer of germs to patients, and in return back to the doctor.

The Journal's study focused on two main concerns. First of all, when a physician or nurse puts on a pair of latex gloves and their hands are dirty, the germs and bacteria on their hands can seep through the glove and transfer to the patient. This transfer of bacteria and germs can be extremely detrimental to patients with compromised immune systems.

Secondly, when healthcare workers remove the gloves from their dirty hands there can be a "back spray" of germs and bacteria onto their bare hands. Due to the misconception that latex gloves offer guaranteed protection, many medical professionals do not wash their hands after they remove them.

The study recommends that all medical professionals thoroughly wash their hands prior to putting on a pair of latex gloves, and that they wash their hands again after removing them. Only about 41 percent of doctors currently follow these recommendations.

As a patient, it is important to understand how to protect yourself. If you have become infected from a recent visit to the doctor, you should seek assistance from an experienced legal professional to discuss your rights.

Categories: Medical Malpractice
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