Medicine: Dirty Hospitals?

"You are villains in a plot against your patients," a crusading Boston surgeon told a gathering of colleagues in Washington last week. Continued Dr. Carl Waldemar Walter: "Because of your negligence, 90% of the nation's hospitals are a menace to health. You should clean up the operating rooms . . . Lax operation of a hospital assures maximal multiplication of pathogenic monsters [i.e., germs]. The result is a carefully managed system that inoculates patients with virulent bacteria along with enough foreign bodies to guarantee disaster."

To many surgeons this was a familiar plaint from...

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