Recently, I learned that medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the US. Also hospital infection rates are quite high, especially in Maine where I live. In fact, Maine hospitals scored very poorly. I had to take my son to the ER today, because I thought he broke his arm (he didn’t) and I saw some things that made me go, “Hmmm, this seems like a really good way to spread disease”. We have a very small waiting room at the local ER, everyone is basically sitting on top of each other in a tiny room. If anyone coughs, EVERYONE in that space is breathing it in. If you know me, you know I’m a bit of a germaphobe, especially when it comes to the puking and pooping diseases. One, because – gross. Two, because I have colitis and a round of Norovirus could have the added bonus of sending me into a flare-up. The thing I am MOST afraid of is C.Diff, the often fatal, extremely hard to treat, diarrhea that is most often caught by old people in nursing homes but is basically exploding (pun intended) all over the country. Now picture this – I am in the ER standing directly behind the person who is checking-in. That person is an elderly man who is holding up a ziplock bag filled with, what is that? Is it brown water? Ohhh ohohohoh no. That, my friend, is human shit. A bag of his explosive poops. He asks the receptionist where the nearest bathroom is because well, obviously he has a serious problem down below. The receptionist gets the guy to sit back out in the tiny waiting room, with the rest of the people who, presumably don’t have explosive shits. Guess what he takes with him? Correct! His bag of poop! Who is next in line? Oh goody, me. I do not sit down in the recently vacated chair. I am, however forced to use the little digital pen thing that the guy with the explosive shits JUST USED and no one wiped off. Not impressed, hospital. Not impressed. Next they put my kid’s finger in one of those blood pressure or whatever it is thinger without wiping that off either. Am I nuts? This is an Emergency Room, in a hospital. A room where people with really bad nasty contagious things are coming in and out all day. Shouldn’t they have different pens for people or a little plastic disposable sheath or something? Shouldn’t you confiscate the bags of human shit? I don’t know. Maybe I’m too paranoid. I know there are much worse things going on in hospitals in other places, but it seems to me like basic sanitation could be a big step in keeping people from getting horrible shit and/or shits from the hospital.