The complete disinfection of the hands preparatory to obstetric or operative work, particularly abdominal surgery, is so essential that the recent observations of Dr. Howard A. Kelly1 are deserving of the widest publicity.
The common pus-producing germs, especially the staphylococcus pyogenes albus, are found abundantly on the hands and about the nails of everybody. To remove them and render the hands perfectly aseptic is by no means easy. The most certain method, and therefore the one to be followed, seems to be the plan which Dr. Kelly advocates.
Sixty-five experiments were made to test the adequacy of soap and water alone. The hands were thoroughly scrubbed with strong brown soap and hot water from ten to twenty-five minutes. In nine instances the hands were found to be aseptic, but in these nine instances the hands had been washed in bichloride of mercury solution the day before.
Immersion of the
HAND DISINFECTION.. JAMA. 1892;XVIII(11):330. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02411150020004