Hospital fears Swiss handshake spreads disease
The Swiss custom of handshaking is being ended at a hospital in canton Aargau.
The tradition is deeply rooted in Switzerland – it’s normal for schoolchildren to shake hands with their teachers every day, for example.
The same is true in hospital where doctors routinely shake hands with patients. But there are concerns the practice could spread diseases.
The hospital in Muri in Aargau now has a policy of ‘smile not shake’ to greet patients.
The Swiss Federal Health Office says 70,000 people are infected with hospital bugs every year – 2,000 of them die from a hospital borne infection.
But those numbers are not enough to mean other hospitals will follow. Stefan Kuster from the University Hospital Zurich says the tradition is too deep and doctors disinfect their hands after each patient.