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Opinion

January 7, 2013

Cheers and Jeers: Jan. 7, 2013

JEERS to drug stores — pharmacies, in particular — that don’t have antibacterial gel available for customer use. Besides hospitals and doctor’s offices, pharmacies are the main spot to find a gathering of sick people. While most people who are ill would prefer to have someone else pick up their prescriptions, that is not always possible. So it is not unusual to see a few people slumped in chairs, sneezing, blowing their noses or flush with fever while waiting for their prescriptions to be filled. And, yet, a number of local pharmacies don’t have available the foam or gel antibacterial wash that you see in local hospital corridors. 

We received this testimony from a longtime registered nurse from our area, Deborah Ribis, who is now nurse case manager for DLR Legal Nurse Consulting:

“On Jan. 3, I went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and get a flu shot (better late than never). I had to wait for about 30 minutes in the pharmacy area and had the opportunity to observe customers coming and going to get their prescriptions.

“Several were obviously ill with upper respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing etc.). There were a couple that used their hands to cover their cough or sneeze, and the others just didn’t bother.

“I asked the young woman waiting on them if she had any antibacterial wipes to wipe down the pen, credit-card pad machine (which had obvious dried “something” on it) and desk and for antibacterial gel for customers to use on their hands. The young woman looked like I had asked for a carton of plutonium.

“In contrast, last week I took my grandson for a haircut, and there on the cashier counter was an economy-size bottle of antibacterial gel for customers.

“When I finished my purchases at the pharmacy, I checked out at the front register and again noted the same lack of supplies. It escapes reason that a pharmacy, a place where a good majority of their customers might be ill with a contagious disease, has nothing available for customers to try to possibly reduce their chances of picking up some potentially very nasty germs.

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