Hospitals Toss Waiting Room Magazines - Here's Why

If you’ve picked this up in a medical waiting room, it’s already too late to stop potentially infectious germs.

Women’s College Hospital is about a year into a push against putting magazines and newspapers in its waiting rooms.

Dr. Jim Ruderman, the hospital’s chief of medical staff, said the hospital wants to stop the spread of infectious bugs between visitors.

“If you saw a used paper tissue, you probably wouldn’t want to handle that but in many ways, the same thing may happen with a magazine or newspaper,” Ruderman said. “People might be sneezing; people might be coughing. When you’re reading something, you’re likely touching your face from time to time — all of us do that. That’s the kind of material that then gets left.”

Ruderman said while people can still bring their own magazines and newspapers, they should not leave reading material behind.

“There is no ban,” he said, adding the hospital’s administration is encouraging people to be sensible. “What we are trying to do is reduce, we believe, the spread of infection agents by not providing reading material that is shared multiple times by a variety of individuals.

The hospital does have signs encouraging people to take those newspapers and magazines with them when they are done — or to recycle them.

Shared magazines aren’t the only items that have started to get pushed out of waiting rooms, Ruderman said.

“I’m a family doctor and we used to have a lot of toys in the waiting room,” he added. “Now you won’t see that as much because again we don’t want the same toys to be handled by kid after kid.”

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