Letter writers urge better etiquette when visiting or staying in health care facilities.

Mind your manners in the hospital

It is 'good manners' to give your seat to a lady, especially when she is a sick lady.

From an early age I made sure to teach my son about the value of good manners, be it “please and thank you” to giving up a seat on the bus. I loved to watch his face when he would offer his seat to a lady on the bus and the gratitude always made him feel good for doing it. He was about six years old the first time. My son is going to be 35 this year and he still has good manners.

On Jan. 2, I went to Surrey Memorial Hospital with pneumonia. The waiting room was unusually full with standing room only, but I managed to get a seat. The only problem I found, other than the long wait, was losing my seat every time I had to go for an X-ray or nurse’s assessment.

After my nurse’s assessment, I came back into the waiting room and looked for a seat and could not find one, so I leaned up against the glass by the where the receptionist was. I was dizzy and feeling very unwell and definitely needed to sit down, but the only person who gave me a seat was a lady who was a senior, and I thanked her profusely for the seat.

Shortly after sitting down I became angry, shocked, flabbergasted and annoyed at the high number of men that completely ignored the fact that I truly needed to sit down. The waiting room was made up of at least 50 per cent men and the kicker was that most of them were family members of someone ill. These were men who just accompanied a person to the emergency ward, and while they waited, they talked on their cells or played video games, which they could have done standing up with their able bodies.

I would just like to say that it is wonderful that you care enough to be with your family member when they are ill, but please be aware that those seats are for people who are sick and waiting to be seen.

In closing I would just like to say that it is “good manners” to give your seat to a lady, especially when she is a sick lady.

Susan Jane Stevens, Surrey


Tip on hospital etiquette

With technology comes change of behaviour.  New medical technology allows a major operation to be performed in under three hours and the patient comes through alert and focused.

But technology also comes with a downside – cellular phones and lack of proper etiquette in hospitals. Almost everyone owns or operates a cellular phone and what is missing is manners when using this device.

My spouse Edward was recently admitted to Eagle Ridge Hospital for a cervical discectomy. This is major surgery, with the neurologist opening the throat to remove a full disk from the neck and replacing it with a surgical device. When my husband arrived on the ward for recovery, he was extremely fatigued by the experience. We had requested a private room, but due to overcrowding, ended up in a semi-private with a young gal. She was a chatty patient who had come in the day before and was ready for discharge, but had no ride to get her home.

We endured hours of loud telephone conversations and texting until a hospitalist came in and sent her packing. She was quickly replaced by an older Italian woman who spent hours on her cellular phone talking to anyone who would listen to her sorrows and complaints.

Most people who end up in the hospital are there because they need to be – not because they want to be – and they need quiet and recovery time.  Nowadays, nobody lowers their voice or respects another person’s privacy or acknowledges the fact the person may be in pain and suffering. Common courtesy seems to have gone out the window.

Here’s a tip: If you have a cellular phone and you need to make a call, do so without interrupting and disturbing everyone around you. You may feel the need to talk to someone about your situation, but not everyone wants to listen to your endless conversations and self-deprecating misery. Be respectful of the person in the bed next to you.

A few manners can go a long way. Unfortunately, manners seems to be a forgotten trait.

Sandra Steffan, Newton

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