Blog | Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Should Doctors Ditch the Tie?

Stain by shareski via FlickrNeckties worn by physicians may be contaminated with dangerous bacteria and viruses that are transported from patient to patient. The British Medical Association made a decision in 2006 that doctors should forgo wearing neckties because they carry germs and bacteria. The American Medical Association is looking at the same issue.

Stethoscopes are draped across ties, patients sneeze on them and neckties are worn repeatedly without being washed. A study from 2004 at New York Hospital Medical Center at Queens showed half of the neckties worn by the study doctors harbored bacteria, including MRSA.

If an article of clothing has no function and may be contaminated, I say why wear it? I doubt that given the choice of a dressed up doctor vs. a clean doctor, patients would choose the necktie.

Personally, I think we should all be wearing scrubs in the hospital and in the office. They are comfortable, professional and clean. I would welcome saving $$ on clothes and dry cleaning. Or what about the old Dr. Kildare look?

What do you think? Is it time for men physicians to lose the tie?

Toni Brayer, FACP, is an ACP Internist editorial board member who blogs at EverythingHealth, designed to address the rapid changes in science, medicine, health and healing in the 21st Century.