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THE TEST of time usually eliminates useless procedures or those that prove more harmful than beneficial. For example, the ten-minute scrub in surgery—now known to reduce the antibacterial property of the skin—is giving way to the two-minute soap scrub followed by a two-minute rub with isopropyl alcohol. The requirement of showering before surgery, formerly prescribed in some British hospitals, has recently been shown to increase rather than to reduce the number of skin bacteria liberated during the next few hours after showering. The pernicious practice of pouring out a quantity of sterile solution (of which the last drop runs down the unsterile outside of the container, only to rejoin the main stream as soon as pouring is resumed) will die out as reason prevails over tradition in the minds of nursing instructors.
Clipping eyelashes before eye surgery may be desirable for certain reasons, but there is no evidence—nor any
Allen HF. Ritual or Rationale?Practical Aspects of Ocular Infection. Arch Ophthalmol. 1968;79(3):232-233. doi:10.1001/archopht.1968.03850040234002