Sunday, October 04, 2009

Alternate Attitudes

Its my job to talk to patients at the accident and emergency about the dangers of heavy drinking. During my night shift I took a group of young people who had come to the hospital after an nasty incident at a club to a side-room for an interview. One of them had removed her high heels and was in stocking feet. As we entered the A & E ward, a nurse immediately told the girl she needed to put her shoes back on.

Naturally, the hospital staff have to be concerned about health and safety. But it is amazing to contrast this to many hospitals in India where both staff and patients are expected to remove their shoes and go barefoot! In Britain going barefoot in a hospital is seen as a safety hazard, while in India, it is viewed as a standard hygeine measure. It is fascinating that across the world there are such conflicting attitudes to feet and shoes.

Even in Europe attitudes are different. In Finland (a shoes-off country) you will see staff in supermarkets and department stores wearing open-toed sandals, which would rarely be permitted in British stores.

14 comments:

richyrich said...

Given the prelavance of infections (such as MRSA) in British hospitals, maybe there should be insistance on people removing outdoor shoes in them. Also why was the girl you mention asked to put her shoes back on? I would think that she'd be more likely to fall and get injured if she was wearing high heels than if she was in her stockinged feet, especially if she was probably the worse for drink.

Celestial Fundy said...

Good point.

ukchristian28 said...

Hey Matt. Jason here. Remember me?:) I realized it has been absolutely ages since I got in touch with you. I really am sorry old friend.

I have subscribed to your blog and intend to be a frequent visitor. Time passes so fast I didn't realize it had been so long.

I have started a blog myself:

http://nastynarrowmindedbigot.blogspot.com/

Check out my youtube channel

www.youtube.com/ukchristian28

It seems you a lot has happened. It is wonderful to read about your work at the hospital. That sounds very rewarding.

God Bless!

Jason

Celestial Fundy said...

Hey, nice to hear from thee again, Jason.

Do drop by again.

ukchristian28 said...

How many blogs do you have now?

Celestial Fundy said...

Eight. But these days I mostly just post on this one.

Anonymous said...

Did she take her shoes off not to spoil the floor or because she wanted to relax?

Celestial Fundy said...

Her feet were hurting from wearing daft high heels.

Bob said...

Hi Matthew, It has been a while since I last posted a comment. As you know my wife and I live in a shoe free home and we are both happy to follow the same rule when we visit. However, going shoeless in a hospital would not be acceptable to me. Too many things can be spilled on the floor, walked on and absorbed into one's system leading to who knows what. I just do not think that it would be very sanitary given the grem ridden enviorment.
Hope all is well...Bob

Celestial Fundy said...

In Japanese hospitals, you change into slippers.

richyrich said...

Yes that sounds a good idea, or providing special shoes or even plastic covers to put over your shoes. They do it in food factories so I can't see any reason why it couldn't be done in hospitals as well.

Tiger/Moderate Mouse said...

"It is fascinating that across the world there are such conflicting attitudes to feet and shoes."

Yes, and I have a feeling that those of us who are on either side of the "shoes vs. no shoes" debate as far as private homes and other places are concerned actually have both of our feet to put ANYTHING on (shoes or otherwise)...or not, if we prefer. On the other hand, some people have part or all of one or both of their legs/feet missing for whatever reason.

Take for instance, my dad. In the last couple of weeks alone, he had to undergo two diabetes-imposed amputations: Almost two weeks ago, it was his left leg up to just barely below the knee (and last time I checked, he said he could still feel the toes on his left foot, even though it was no longer there); a week later, it was the big toe on his right foot. And yes, he will eventually get prosthetics in place of the parts that were cut off, but it probably won't be the same. Here I am, with my reservations about the concept of a "no shoes in the house" policy (I still believe that, shoes in the home or no, stuff will still happen to floors), and of being in bare or stocking feet in certain situations. Yet, if anything, I should probably be grateful that I still have two fully intact feet to put shoes, socks, slippers, etc. on. (I heard a saying a long time ago that was somehting like, "I cried because I had no shoes 'till I met a man who had no feet.")
Normally I have on shoes or slippers when on the computer, but right now, the only thing I have on my feet is some dark purple toenail polish that I put on last night. This will probably sound crazy but although I could hardly bring myself to go barefoot when anyone's around (one of the exceptions to this is if I'm swimming), maybe I should at least do so in private as a reminder that regardless of what is/is not on my feet at any one time, at least I have not had to go through what my dad did.

(P.S. Given the timing of this comment, I will not be offended if you opt not to post it.

PPS Speaking of "hygeine measures" in a hospital, the particular one that my dad was in didn't have a "shoes off" policy like India does. The "measure" was hand-related. There were a lot of hand sanitizer dispensers on the walls, at least outside of all of the patient rooms and the elevators. Do they do that in the UK?)

Celestial Fundy said...

Yes, we have hand sanitizer dispensers at UK hospitals.

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