October 3, 1986

Keeping in Trim: Nailed Doc Docks Nails

Author Affiliations

Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Springfield

JAMA. 1986;256(13):1726. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380130054022

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To the Editor.—  Recently, I had an elderly patient in the hospital whose toenails had been neglected and uncut for a long period of time. Because I noticed this and because the patient asked me to, I requested that the nurses take care of this. I was informed that nurses no longer cut toenails! There is no podiatrist on the hospital staff. As an orthopedic consult was pending I hoped one of the residents would undertake the nail trimming when examining her deformed foot. Alas! Since the patient chose not to have surgery on her foot, the nails remained uncut.At this stage I accepted the concept that in a hospitalized patient, trimming of the toenails is part of primary patient care and I borrowed a nail trimmer from the nursing staff (who were delighted to loan it to me) and promptly attended to it, to everyone's delight.