Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Dogeared and in the doghouse: hospital bans waiting room mags as health hazard

I guess it had to come. Women's College Hospital in Toronto is banning waiting room magazines, saying it is to prevent the spread of germs and viruses. Nowhere was it evident in the reporting that this is a real problem, just that old copies of Reader's Digest and Maclean's might be a conduit for germs passing from hand to hand. People are allowed to bring their own books and magazines -- and they better because  reading matter won't be supplied. According to a report on CBC.ca
Posters inside the hospital say the decision was made because "reading material spreads viruses and infections." Michael Gardam, director of infection prevention and control for Toronto's University Health Network, says getting rid of magazines makes sense.

"If you've got somebody who's in isolation because they've got C. difficile or some other super bug, and they're reading that magazine, you don't really want to put that back on the rack for another person."
The nature of such edicts is that a) the practice will spread like, well, like a virus and pretty soon the "public place" copy will be an endangered species and b) no matter what the industry says or does -- even if it were able to demonstrate that ink on glossy paper is a potent antiseptic and germicide -- will it make any difference. Plus, I predict, somehow the public will misinterpret this as a ban on reading in hospitals, as ridiculous as that may seem.
Many of Canada's best known magazines rely on public place copies to drive up audience numbers.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What took so long?

12:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh no,
What about newsstand copies that are skimmed by a few people before they're purchased.
Is this the death of the newsstand? Wait a minute what about every retail environment where you pick something up and put it back down or try something on and then don't buy it?
What about the people handling the peaches in the supermarket?
Well I guess it only applies to hospitals because that's where all the sick people are.

1:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think that it is a great idea

–Howard Hughes

3:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geez, now I'll have to spend my time in waiting rooms licking the furniture...oh well...

5:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice one, Howard!

9:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, approve.
-Glenn Gould

10:26 pm  
Anonymous Christopher Moore said...

And will they close all the libraries next?

9:07 am  
Blogger Lisa Romeo said...

Ridiculous. Might be better to get rid of the communal pens used to fill out forms. And the door knobs.

10:36 pm  

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