I came across the following gem in a list of suggested questions to ask one’s doctor put together by the government’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:

“Ask if your doctor if he has washed his or her hands before starting to examine you.  Research shows that handwashing can prevent the spread of infections. If you’re uncomfortable asking this question directly, you might ask, ‘I’ve noticed that some doctors and nurses wash their hands or wear gloves before touching people. Why is that?'”

Hmm . . . dirty hands spread germs, but is it safe to ask your doctor this question?  I doubt it.  My mother, who gets increasingly germophobic as she ages, did so —  and soon her doctor was her EX-doctor.  When Ma told me this story, I thought: “Wow, a kamikaze patient”. 

As far as their idea of a hint: the question doesn’t sound very bright and all it will tell your doctor is that your vision is OK.

While we’re on this subject, what about asking the doctor whether he’d cleaned his necktie?  Studies show that neckties can  spread germs in hospitals because doctors bend over sick patients while examining them, accumulate bacteria, and then repeat the process with other patients.

Best advice is to choose a doctor carefully and notice at the initial examination what his or her hygiene standards are.

You don’t want your doctor washing his hands of you!