Too Bad Money Doesn’t Spread Like Disease

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 12, 2020

I have to visit my local hospital. At this moment, the health crisis is still ongoing, but it is not really spreading fast or causing many deaths in my country anymore.

When you enter the hospital, there are people there who ask you what your business is and if you have any symptoms related to the illness. The way this hospital is set up is that you have a big open space right after the doors. During this time, they have taped off a section for people entering so they catch everybody going in and are able to ask them questions.

The way they set this up is that they have a couple of tables surrounded by plexiglass screens about two meters in height and U-shaped. The area for employees is further restricted by tables which sort of create corridors for people to go through. These tables are not protected by the plexiglass. The employees are standing behind those tables, calling us through. Luckily, it is not very busy and I get through easily. 

When you exit, you get close to that area again. I linger a bit when I exit because I have to get some stuff in and out of my bag. As I do, I overhear a conversation.

One man asks why the hospital staff has plexiglass screens but doesn’t stand behind them, instead choosing to stand behind the unprotected tables. I take a look at the setup again and I realise that the way these areas are set up, they clearly meant for patients and visitors to go up to the front of the screens, answer the questions required, and then pass through the little artificial corridors to enter the hospital. This way, the employee would be protected at all times and never get close enough to the visitor/patient without a barrier in between them.

However, as it turns out, in order for plexiglass to stand on its own, it has to be quite thick. And what happens if you’re standing behind thick plexiglass? Well… predictably, they will have trouble hearing each other. Apparently, after trying it out, the employees realised that communication was impossible through these screens and that is why they abandoned them. I guess they still managed to stay far enough away from the patients and visitors, at least as far away as required by our laws — 1.5 meters — but it amazed me that the hospital didn’t think of the communication problem. 

And for everyone asking if they couldn’t have used microphones and speakers to communicate, here’s a couple of reasons why they didn’t. This setup is in the middle of a big open space. There are no plugs anywhere near. And it is too dangerous to put a wire over that floor. On top of that, the more important reason I guess is that hospitals already don’t get much funding and, as such, are notorious cheapskates.

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