GRE Argument Essay 179

The following appeared in a memo from the director of a large group of hospitals.

“In a laboratory study of liquid antibacterial hand soaps, a concentrated solution of Nadasept killed 40 percent more bacteria than the liquid hand soaps currently used in our hospitals. During a subsequent test of Nadasept at our hospital in Saluda, that hospital reported significantly fewer cases of patient infection than did any of the other hospitals in our group. Therefore, to prevent serious patient infections, we should supply Nadasept at all hand washing stations throughout our hospital system.”

The director of the memo is of the view that Nadasept is a better hand washing solution that kills 40 percent more bacteria and thus should be used in their group of hospitals to prevent patient infections. He mentions that one of their hospitals where Nadasept was tested has reported fewer cases of patient infection than other hospitals. However, the director does not provide enough evidence to prove that Nadasept would actually be beneficial to prevent infections. A detailed analysis of the argument given by the director exposes its inability to support the decision effectively.

If the laboratory study mentioned by the director has to be believed, a concentrated solution of Nadasept is more effective than the soap currently used by the hospitals since it kills more bacteria. However, there are certain loopholes that make the reader believe that Nadasept may not be a perfect replacement of other soaps. Firstly, the sample of Nadasept that is tested is mentioned to be a concentrated solution. A concentrated solution would definitely be more active than a dilute solution. It is not known if Nadasept would be provided in different hospitals in concentrated form or not. Moreover, if the soap currently used is also used in concentrated form, it might have the same effect. Further, it can be said that Nadasept is only compared to the soaps used currently in the hospitals. However, there could be other brands of liquid hand washing solutions in the market, which are more effective than Nadasept. Hence, it may not be a perfect replacement of the soap currently being used.

The result of the laboratory study mentions the bacteria killing properties of Nadasept. However, the director does not mention any other effects of the solution. There are many other factors that should be considered before replacing the current soap solution by Nadasept. For example, it is likely that since this solution is stronger than others, it might be harsh on the skin. Hence it might result in dryness, irritation, allergy or other such problems. Further, the solution needs to be safe to be used by children etc. as well and should not cause any irritation in eyes. Since the soap solution is to be used by the staff as well as patients, it should be safe to be used by both: adults and children.

The director further says that in their hospital in Saluda, where Nadasept was used, there were fewer cases of patient infection than in other hospitals. However, this could be a mere co-incidence. There are many other causes of patient infection and the director should therefore look into all the factors leading to it before forming an opinion about Nadasept. It is likely that the general health and hygiene observed in the hospital at Saluda is better than in other hospitals. It could be cleaner and there could be better facilities of disposal of hospital wastes in the hospital at Saluda as compared to other hospitals. It is also likely that their staff is trained on how to prevent infections. There is also a possibility that there are fewer patients suffering from diseases that can be spread through bacteria. In that case, there would be lesser bacteria causing infection in the hospital of Saluda than in other hospitals.

The director should look into all these factors that result in patient infections. His argument seems to be lacking in reason and logic to prove that the use of Nadasept would prevent patient infection. He should therefore revise all factors responsible for spreading infections and conduct a detailed test in order to find out how effective Nadasept is to prevent infections.