Archives of General Internal Medicine

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Commentary - Archives of General Internal Medicine (2020) Volume 4, Issue 6

COVID-19, Telemedicine and the Demise of the Physician's Touch

Even before the #MeToo movement, touching another person carried an element of risk. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, that risk has intensified, due to the role of direct contact between individuals in spreading the infection. This is not to say that the danger of becoming infected by touching another person was unrecognized prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Infection control practitioners have long extolled the benefits of washing hands between patients, and of isolating those in the hospital with known transmissible infections. Whereas in the distant past comforting patients by sitting on their bed and holding their hand was a part of the art of medicine, recent policies have made the practice an infection control no-no. Recommendations: There is the need for a multidisciplinary approach and the relevance of psychiatrists and psychologists in pretreatment evaluation as well as in the course of treatment.

Author(s): Philip A Mackowiak*, Carolyn Frenkil, Selvin Passen

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