We all know hundreds of hospitals are staffed with smoking, out-of-shape, McDonalds-eating employees. I've sat in the offices of nurses and doctors who hurry me through yearly physicals and then run out for a smoke break or a bite of pastrami on white bread. If you haven't had a similar experience then you're lying to yourself. Hospitals symbolize preventive health about as much as your Aunt Carolyn. You know, the one who insists you eat her famous triple-layer Red Velvet cake made with white flour, sugar and beaucoup butter.
Earlier this morning CNN broadcast a story about the Cleveland Clinic. The top-ranking hospital is being singled out for its fixed-salary and patient-centered healthcare. A hospital that fits perfectly into Obama's vision of how American healthcare should work. That's all good and dandy and I'm loving me some patient-centered healthcare, but I like that the Cleveland Clinic doesn't hire smokers. Yeah, baby, no nicotine breath at Cleveland Clinic! I know I have a tendency to get rowdy when it comes to smoking, but hey, everybody has something that sets them off.
I was just walking by Brooklyn Hospital here in NYC and I saw at least thirty employees standing by the entrance smoking cigs. That image was about as appetizing as black lung. I'm not trying to send American smokers to the unemployment line, but I do think if you work in the healthcare industry you should want to be healthy. Wishful thinking? Maybe. But I'm getting tired of rolling into hospitals and being greeted by overweight, cigarette-smoking health practioners. In fact, I think all hospitals should create policies that prohibit the hiring of smokers and anyone weighing over an unhealthy 250. Thoughts?
Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.