Wednesday, 15 June 2011

An eccentric outburst

An orthopaedic consultant at Guy's made the headlines yesterday by shouting at Nick Clegg, David Cameron and their entourage. Nick Robinson suggested that he was shouting at the group in the background and I have read that he was objecting to members of this group wearing ties or not rolling their sleeves up but I didn't hear those words. Maybe a gesticulation can contain all this meaning, it's just that I didn't see it.

Much more important to me is what I do the next time I visit someone in hospital. Am I to take my tie off? Do I take off my jacket and roll up my sleeves? By coincidence I visited someone in hospital today. I asked the nurse if I had to take my tie or my jacket off. She hadn't seen this news item but I had told her about this news item before I made this request. She had never asked anyone to remove their jacket or tie to visit any patient.

Did the consultant use his influence correctly? If ties or clothes on forearms can cause bacteria to spread in hospitals then there is a strong case to roll up our sleeves physically and metaphorically. However, on the basis that there is no concerted effort to change our sartorial habits I would suggest that this consultant is simply making an eccentric outburst.

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