Professor Garth McClure: “We used to talk about the skin being the third kidney of the baby”

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Professor Garth McClure


“Every time you touch a baby in intensive care there is a potential risk of an infection” says retired Professor and former Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) paediatrician Garth McClure who has been talking about the current pseudomonas outbreak at the Royal Jubilee Maternity’s neo-natal unit. He speaks about the constant battle to curb infections in the children’s intensive unit.

Professor McClure added:

“The most important thing is to be scrupulously clean with your hands.

“Don’t handle a baby unless you have to. You should not ever touch a baby unless there is some very good reason for doing so, because you should know ever time you touch a baby there is a potential risk of an infection.

“Water can leak out of the baby and infection can leak into the baby. We used to talk about the skin being the third kidney of the baby.”

Listen to the wisdom of Dr McClure who spent over half a century caring for sick children:

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I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.


  1. I am a mum of two sets of twins born early. my first set were in RVH ICU ,the nurses and doctors were adamant that I was the main carer and encouraged me to wash my hands and all our visitors to do also before we touched the twins. I continued to be careful even when they were at home.When the next set were born they were in the ward with me but I was adamant that everyone washed their hands before handling the girls , even their own grandfather was scrupulous when it came to washing hands and handling the babies!!The fact that their grandfather was Prof Garth McClure made no difference!!