Nov 162012

“Oh well, I guess it can wait longer, even though we will have to wear gloves.”  - Nurse anxious to bathe the newborn, when the mother did not want a her baby to have a bath.

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 November 16, 2012  L&D Nurse, newborn, postpartum  Add comments

  43 Responses to ““…We Will Have To Wear Gloves.””

  1. I’m sorry you were pressured. I hate that at many hospitals the nurses think the babies are theirs and make the parents feel as if have few rights.
    I am so thankful that the hospital I was at most recently followed my birthplan and didn’t even try to bathe my daughter. She was immediately put on my chest and she stayed there for almost two hours nursing. We bathed her after we got settled at home. The nurses and pediatricians didn’t seem to care or treat her any differently. After my last hospital birth nightmare this was exactly what I needed.

  2. It’s for the better, I’m sure. Your hands are probably not as clean as my baby.

  3. “Shouldn’t you be wearing gloves anyhow?”

  4. Oh, noes, not the GLOVES!!

  5. OK. Wear the gloves.

  6. Actually, you’d be surprised to know that gloves are not that clean either. A lot of health care professionals don’t wash their hands between patients anymore because they think that they don’t need to if they wear gloves. Then gloves get contaminated by dirty hands while being put on, they can also get contaminated in the box when someone with dirty hands touches the rest of the gloves while extracting one pair. And typically exam gloves are not sterile to begin with, meaning they could be crawling with all kinds of superbugs for all you know.

    One of the reasons I chose to birth at home was because of how dirty hospitals are. When we were in the hospital with my first, one of the nurses had a pretty bad cough and was at work, handling newborns. I understand that she has to make a living and maybe she couldn’t afford unpaid time off, but I also don’t see why my child should be exposed to that. Oh, and I don’t think I saw anybody at the hospital washing their hands before gloving except for my midwives. ;)

    • Sorry, this was in reply to Whitney. My phone is acting funny.

    • I had a doctor in the ER come to check on my son without gloves and before he touched him, I said “please wash your hands.” He actually said “I used hand sanitizer in the hall.” I just stared at him until he said “Ok, I can do that too!” It pisses me off! Hand sanatizer takes care of 99.9% of germs theoretically, unfortunately, it does not dry quick enough to kill more than approximately 68%. That and hand sanitizer does great for germs… not so much good for doctor’s tuna salad or fecal matter!

      I just couldn’t believe he treated me like an idiot because I wanted to make sure his hands are clean!

      I hated that hospital! They had a urine sample sitting in my triage room in L&D!

      • AAHHH that reminds me of my first son’s 2 week checkup. The nurse walked in, put the chart by the sink, says “Oh, I should wash my hands” AND THEN WALKED BACK TO THE DOOR TO USE THE SANITIZER. I was too dumbfounded to even speak.

    • Ugh. My step-daughter nearly died at birth after contracting an infection from the hospital. Totally healthy mother, totally healthy baby, until about a day after the birth someone handled her with germy hands and put her in the NICU for two weeks.

    • Working in healthcare, I will tell you this is absolutely true and Vanessat is not making anything up. I got scolded once or twice for not wearing gloves because I had actually washed my hands between patients. In fact, the first thing I do when I come into a room after meeting a patient is wash my hands. Then after a patient leaves, wash my hands again. Yet, my superiors didn’t think this was “clean”. “Use the gloves for patients,” they said. -__-

  7. Oh, bummer. Too bad about you not spreading pathogens around from patient to patient. That would have been fun, right?

  8. Well, part of me wants to give this nurse props for not snatching the baby away to bathe her. The other part of me desperately wants to say something sarcastic about how hard it is to find gloves in a hospital.

  9. I can’t stand these comments. It’s not the first I’ve seen on here. I don’t know what hospital you people are going to but it’s policy to wash your hands OR use hand sanitizer (which has to dry before you can put gloves on otherwise the gloves will stick. Also it is generally MORE effective than hand washing since most people don’t wash their hands correctly).
    I personally cannot for the life of me understand what the big deal is with the bath but its your kid and you can do what you want. For the love of God though PLEASE warn the nurse before they touch the baby. I personally like to avoid touching bodily fluids if I don’t have to.
    And most of us do go to work if we just have a cold. Can’t call out for every little thing. However at my hospital it is policy that if you are not feeling well in any way you MUST wear a mask. And trust me if one of my co-workers is sick I’m usually the one following them wiping down anything they touch with sani-wipes!!!

    • My biggest peeve at the hospital when my son was born was when the staff came in and instead of washing their hands, used the sanitizer foam.

      Because that magically removes dirt, food particles and whatever else they haven’t washed off their hands recently.

      I would have preferred hand washing to “magic” foam.

    • When I my youngest I declined to wash her at the hospital. I had a good reason, her older brother got rashes from the hospital-provided J&J washes and shampoos as a newborn, and also I knew it wasn’t necessary. I had my second in Germany, where I was told that they normally don’t bathe the babies unless the parents request it. “What comes on the baby is meant to be there”, I was told. I wonder why Germans aren’t squeamish about the “bodily fluids” on babies?

      Anyway, when I was asked about the 3rd baby, I said I wanted to wash her at home and the nurse said “It’s ok to just say ‘no’ and then I’ll stop asking.” So I did, and she did and no one freaked out because the baby didn’t smell like fake lavender or “fresh” or whatever. That was in the US.

      So I don’t know where YOU are, but there are other medical professionals out there who do not force parents to scrub the baby in chemicals or else treat him as a bio-hazard.

    • When I worked as a candy striper in a nursery in 1981 I was instructed to scrub and change my outer gown between babies. No kidding. I scrubbed with the nail sponge and everything. Of course I spent most of my time running samples to the lab and pushing babies down the hall to their moms. Of course I’m going to scrub before touching a brand new baby after touching elevator buttons. What the general public does is beside the point. We are talking about what nurses do. If a 17 year old girl can scrub then a trained nurse can wash her hands correctly.

      • Elevator buttons are a huge source of germ transmission according to studies. People look at me weird because I generally push them with my elbow, keeping my hands away. I am not a germophobe, but elevator buttons and bathroom doorhandles give me the heebies.

    • My son developed a staph infection in his eye in the first 24 hours after birth. We assume because someone touched his eye with contaminated hands. He required a 3-day stay in the NICU on IV antibiotics. This is why for me it’s a big deal that people who handle my newborns are properly disposed to do so.

      While it’s nice that you follow your co-workers around with the sani-wipes, but when it’s not your shift, what happens then?

    • You’re telling me that medical professionals who spend their whole day around sick people and vulnerable babies can’t be taught to wash their hands correctly?

      I would be ok with doctors and nurses washing their hands AND using hand sanitizer, if you’re really concerned about it.

      As far as “what kind of hospitals” we’re going to, see above where Jane’s son contracted a staph infection, and my step-daughter nearly died from a strep infection (which we know for CERTAIN came from the hospital). I personally know two other people who contracted hospital infections, and one of those died. It’s frankly concerning how often this happens.

      • Right? I was thinking that same thing. These are highly educated people, with whom we are supposed to trust our lives… can’t be taught to wash their hands properly?

  10. Wish I had declined the bath when my daughter was born. The nurse bathed my baby in the sink in our room- the same sink the doctors, nurses and our visiting family had used to wash their hands all day long. Just filled it up with water and plopped the baby in. Who knows what superbugs were lingering there.

    • Was the sink clogged with bodily secretions? If not probably no more then any other sink/tub he/she was bathed in, sinks are for the most part clean because of constant exposure to chlorinated water. Also most bacteria don’t live to long outside the body. Yes, doctor to patient transfer is a risk, I know that. We are all trained in how to avoid (like using the already discussed magic foam), but it’s a little bit over the top to expect radical superbugs are lingering on every surface. For the most part they aren’t unless you are in a ward that has a lot of people who are sick with infectious disease.

      • I’m honestly asking this lol…

        Does that mean that my sink is MORE contaminated than average because we have a full home water softener and a reverse osmosis filter in the sink?

        • I all honestly most likely. Although I have to tell you be careful with ultra pure water, we use it in the lab. It’s low osmotic pressure can and does draw other substances (like calcium and magnesium) out of what ever it comes in contact with (like you). If you are using reverse osmotic filtration make sure what you are getting out isn’t distilled water, it can make you sick.

      • Not every hospital has a good cleaning program in place (they should, but that’s another story). My dad was in the ICU, and when he was transferred to a regular room, there was blood on the floor, feces in the toilet and vomit in the sink. We were told that someone would come in to clean “shortly” I wheeled my dad’s bed back out to the corridor and said there was no way in hell he was staying in that room for one minute. They found him another room.

        • That is insane! Housekeeping or somebody should have cleaned that up. I am so sorry you had to deal with that.

        • Bravo for standing up for your dad. This is why many people die from secondary infections at the hospital, because the room isn’t clean.

        • I was in the hospital with an infection a week after I had my son and they put a woman who had heart surgery in with me. She was on her period and refused to wear any kind of underwear. She had blood all over the floor and toilet and the nurse refused to send housekeeping in saying it was my blood because I was postpartum. Part of the infection I had stopes my bleeding and I have never let blood remain on the floor even miscarrying. I was disgusted. On top of that we both had to monitor our urine output and they made us use the same toilet pan thingamagigy. I can’t tell you how many times I dumped the other woman’s urine out to per myself before I got sick of it and started peeing in the visitor bathroom by the nurses station. I didn’t have a single person even notice that I didn’t have urine output.

      • What’s the point of everyone washing their hands before touching the baby if they are then going to fill the same hand washing sink up and dunk the baby in germ soup?

    • They could have at least disinfected the sink with some Sani wipes. :)

  11. I thought you had to wear gloves anyway! My bad.
    In that case, you most certainly may not bathe the baby. I want EVERYONE wearing gloves. Actually, can you bring me those papers to sign myself out? I’m going to leave and bathe her at home. (Or not…)
    Yuck. I wash my hands and wear gloves between patients.
    And if the mother is healthy, the stuff on her baby is not hazardous. I’m a doula. I know what my patients are carrying, if anything, and I’ve kissed some of my newly born babes. The stuff on the computer keyboard in the room is more dangerous than the stuff on the baby’s head.

  12. I did NOT mean health professionals do not know how to properly wash their hands. We actually get drilled and tested on it all the time. I meant the majority of human beings do not properly wash their hands. And if your hands are not soiled in something solid hand sanitizer is actually the best option. WE
    use it constantly so while I cannot speak for the bad apples,
    MOST of us are VERY clean.
    If you feel the need to touch or even ingest someone else’s vaginsl fluid, amniotic fluid, blood, vernix, and fecal matter be my guest. But I am NOT going to put my health at risk.
    That is the most disgusting unsanitary thing I have ever heard.
    I truly apologize for those who have encountered “dirty” health peeps. But the majority of us are obsessive about washing and sanitizing our hands. Since the majority of babies get bathed, I do not think it is unreasonable to ask for a heads up that your child is still covered in bodily fluids.
    And why is your home sink cleaner than the hospital one that gets cleaned daily with antibacterial solution.
    Again, it is your child so please do what you want. It’s your RIGHT. but it’s also my right to protect myself from biohazards.

    • Why aren’t babies considered bio-hazards in Germany?

      Babies fare better there, as do mothers. Why is that?

      Do you think they’re better educated? Smarter? Maybe they wash their hands properly?

      I wonder.

      • Or Maryland, for that matter, since my third was born there and not one person was shrieking about the biohazard in my room.

        Great hospital, by the way, ranked and recognized nationally.

        One would think that if this “biohazard baby” was a real thing that was proven, the standards for “touching the biohazard” would be universal.

      • I totally agree, you have the right to be aware the baby hasn’t been bathed so, as a HCP you can decide if you are comfortable with bare hands or if you’d rather use gloves. No problem, a sticker could be placed on the bassinet or chart, I believe there are a lot of hospitals that do that.

        However the problem with the original quote was that the nurse was complaining that baby not having a bath is inconveniencing the nursing staff because they’ll have to wear gloves every time they touch that little biohazard. I’m sure wearing gloves from time to time is part of a nurse’s job description. ;)

    • Of course the staff should know the baby is still unbathed. Write it in the chart.

      L&D could also put a sticker on every newborn’s basinette that you remove after the first bath. You shouldn’t have to touch anything you don’t want to.

    • I wasn’t aware that healthcare professionals routinely licked the babies clean. How else would they ingest the vaginal fluid and other body fluids on the baby? Or do they routinely suck their thumbs after handling unwashed infants? Nevermind though, because I don’t want anyone handling my baby after birth anyway, gloved or bare hands. FTR though, no mother wants a nurse with a cold handling their newborn child. When my oldest was in NICU, his designated nurse was wiping her snotty nose with her bare hands and then touching my prem baby. You bet your bottom I requested another nurse. When my youngest was also in NICU, they banned one mother from entering for having a sniffle. I have a problem understanding why mom is not allowed, but sniffling nurse is. Both have equal chance of passing whatever they’re carrying on to their little patients.

    • This is why I wanted to avoid the first bath for a while. We waited about 36hrs for the bath.

      Trying to avoid the bath in the first place was an ordeal. I had my twins via c-section. I got to hold them for a few mins and a nurse walked up and said that they would be taking them for their bath. I said “Oh! We want to wait for the bath. So, please don’t.” She looked at me like I was crazy. And had to ask me a couple times what exactly I meant. She even asked another nurse if I was even allowed to deny a bath.

      The conversation with the nurse that was quoted started out with her coming into our room all happy and announcing it was time for my son’s bath b/c the ped was there and ready to circumcise him. I told her we weren’t having it done and she seemed really disappointed and made that statement.

      The hospital stay was terrible. This nor my other quote about the hearing test are even close to the worst things that happened :/

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