Thursday, November 4, 2010

Latest in Hospital Care – Shots, of Booze?

The Marin Institute, in California, fights to protect the public from the impact of the alcohol industry’s negative practices. We monitor and expose the alcohol industry’s harmful actions related to products, promotions and social influence, and support communities in their efforts to reject these damaging activities. They envision communities free of the alcohol industry’s negative influence and an alcohol industry that does not harm the public’s health.

Each week their newsletter puts someone or something in the "doghouse" for making a poor decision regarding alcohol products, promotion or use. This week some health care facilities made an interesting choice which landed them in the "doghouse". The following article is from the Marin Institute's Watchdog Blog:

As competition among hospitals stiffens, some institutions are resorting to offering patients a few too many comforts of home— or of their local bar. Despite being known to weaken the immune system and prolong illness, hospitals are starting to serve patients alcohol in hopes of wooing more business.

While these hospitals purportedly rely on physician approval, the potential for abuse is staggering. Susan Levin, the director of nutrition education at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, called the practice ‘mind-boggling.’"When you consider amount of medications people are on in hospitals — it's a dangerous system to begin with before you even start mixing alcohol into the cocktail," she noted in an interview with NPR.

Considering that so many patients are in the hospital in the first place due to alcohol-related problems, this idea seems especially twisted. The healthcare costs from alcohol consumption alone have been estimated to more than $26 billion dollars, or $686 for every person living in America. With all that’s known about alcohol and health, it is shocking that hospitals are willing to put their patients at risk just for a few extra dollars.

To read more from the Marin Institute Click Here.

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