Toilet Texting? Keep Your Cell Phone to Yourself!

Bug on a Cell Phone photo: jparadisi 2011

As much as I love patient care, I do have a pet peeve. It goes like this:

Occasionally, a patient arrives expecting something to happen during their appointment that wasn’t ordered by the doctor. Within reason, I am happy to call the doctor’s office on their behalf and request the lab test, simple injection, or whatever. For a very few patients, however, this isn’t enough. They whip out their cell phone and call the doctor themselves. I don’t terribly mind patients using their cell phones in the clinic, but I hate it when a patient hands me their cell phone and expects me to talk to their doctor. I have always imagined entire cities of respiratory germs prospering on the surface of a cell phone. I don’t want to put their cell phone up to my ear and near my face. Blech!

Turns out, it’s worse than I imagined. Medscape published an article by Tim Locke, exposing the results of a UK study of bacteria found on cell phones:

“The next time you reach for your cell phone, consider this: A new study found that 92% of cell phones in the U.K. have bacteria on them – including E. coli — because people aren’t washing their hands after going to the bathroom.”

Who texts on the toilet? Uggh!

And please, everybody wash your hands!