Hospital considers removing bedside bibles.

Over in Leicester, England, hospital bosses are debating whether to remove bibles from the bedsides of patients:

Hospital bosses may remove bibles from the bedsides of patients amid concerns over offending non-Christians and spreading the superbug, MRSA.

Leics-based Gideons International, which distributes bibles, described the move as “outrageous”. University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said it was committed to equality and religious diversity. It is to meet on Friday to discuss whether the tradition should continue at the city’s three main hospitals.

Gideons International’s UK headquarters, which is based in the county, commissioned reports from medical consultants about the potential risk and found there was no danger. Iain Mair, executive director at their Lutterworth base, said: “They are saying there’s a potential MRSA risk, and we say that is nonsense. They also say it’s discriminating against people of other faiths. It’s outrageous, political correctness gone mad. We will put notes in the lockers which will say that, if a patient wants a book of another faith, these are the people they should contact.”

MRSA, for the uninitiated, is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a strain of bacteria which is resistant to common anti-biotics and is increasingly becoming a problem in hospitals. Leicester is one of the country’s most diverse cities – only 44% of people describe themselves as Christian while nearly 15% describe themselves as Hindu and 11% as Muslim, with around 17.5% stating that they have no religion.

20 thoughts on “Hospital considers removing bedside bibles.

  1. So, people might actually be getting physically sick from the bible (as opposed to just getting mentally ill)?

  2. So, people might actually be getting physically sick from the bible…

    Any object touched by MRSA infected could be potential “carrier” for disease because it spreads by contact.
    For example if doctor/nurse treats infected patient and then doesn’t wash hands before treating next patient they can effectively spread this disease.
    Only thing differing between different carrier “objects” is how long MRSA would survive on it.

    And MRSA can be very dangerous to surgical patients and people in weak condition.

    But hey… christianity was partially responsible for death of major part of Europe’s population by black death so who cares about this mild disease?

  3. I’d be highly dubious of claims that MRSA is any more likely to be spread via Bibles than in any of a thousand other methods at hospitals.

    That said, rather than *removing* Bibles, I’d encourage folks of different faiths to make their own literature available for bored hospital denizens to read.

  4. I hope they don’t remove any korans, that left an awful mess the last time.
    Maybe Christians should take that hint on how to keep it alive.

  5. I think the solution is obvious, why not just make disposable bibles that you can flush down the toilet when you are finished reading them? They could even do other ‘holy’ books too! ( Oh I am so wicked I know )  wink

  6. Well, if it’s a concern for infection, even a mild one, then they should be taken out.  Sure there are lots of ways for stuff to be spread, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless or ridiculous to reduce the risk as much as possible.

    As for the whole offending other religions bit, I’m not so offended by a Bible in a bedside table.  No one’s making me read it.

  7. Wow RAGE, interesting site you linked to. It seems like you were almost waiting for a post like this to pounce on! Of course, feel free to correct me if I happen to be mistaken…

  8. I think it’s a good idea… afterall, who actually reads the bloody things anyway? Anyone that is so freakishly religious they read the bible in hospital will probably have their own copy anyway!

    Theres nothing more annoying than people forcing religion on others. Putting a bible in the hospital is nearly as bad as those nuts dancing around singing “hari hari krishna” 😀

    BAN THE BOOK!

  9. I think it’s a good idea… afterall, who actually reads the bloody things anyway? Anyone that is so freakishly religious they read the bible in hospital will probably have their own copy anyway!

    I have such a voracious appetite for printed material, I’ve been known to leaf through a hotel Bible left by the local Gideons.  Does that count?  Besides, there are some cool comparative language/script examples in the introductory material that are fun to read.

    I’ve not been in a situation where I felt a religious need for a Bible by my hospital bed—but I can imagine being “freakishly religious” enough to be in such a situation.

    Theres nothing more annoying than people forcing religion on others. Putting a bible in the hospital is nearly as bad as those nuts dancing around singing “hari hari krishna

  10. I’m with ***Dave on this one. I don’t have an issue with Bibles in hospital rooms or motel rooms as no one is forcing me to read it and there may be some folks who have a use for it. As long as it’s private companies making the decision of whether or not to have such materials on hand then there’s not much for me to complain about. VA Hospitals, obviously, shouldn’t have any religious texts in the rooms that weren’t brought in by the patients themselves, but that’s a government funded hospital.

    If there’s a valid medical reason to remove the Bibles from hospital rooms then it should be done, but if it’s only because you’re worried about offending other religions, well, why not just include a few other religious texts in there and offer folks a choice?

    Again, as much as I think all religions are fictional and the world would be better off if we could just leave them behind I also realize the likelihood of that happening is pretty small. This means a certain amount of compromise is called for. A Bible stuck in a drawer in a hospital room or motel room neither infringes my rights or forces religion upon me.

    As for banning any book, I’m completely opposed to that idea. If anything, I think more folks should sit down and read the Bible (and many other religious texts) from front to back and see for themselves just what it really says. My daughter recently undertook just such a study herself. So far she’s told me that, “It’s hard to read because it’s so boring.” I told her it gets better once God gets really pissed off.

  11. As long as it’s private companies making the decision of whether or not to have such materials on hand then there’s not much for me to complain about. VA Hospitals, obviously, shouldn’t have any religious texts in the rooms that weren’t brought in by the patients themselves, but that’s a government funded hospital.

    In that case I’d better make a clarification. Britain has a welfare state – the government provides free healthcare for all funded via taxes. The hospitals in question are effectively-government owned.

  12. I keep forgetting you’re a Brit. grin

    I was, obviously, speaking from the standpoint of an American and the U.K. doesn’t have that pesky First Amendment thing we’ve got. So unless the government has put down some sort of rule saying that government funded institutions shouldn’t be promoting one religion over another then there’s really nothing to complain about if all the hospitals want to have Bibles in them.

    Again, if it’s a bone-fide health risk then I think they should be removed, but otherwise it doesn’t seem you have any laws that say they can’t be there.

  13. I’m all for the Bibles in the bedside table; it’s always nice to have guaranteed reading material on hand. I also think it would be sweet if someone took a page from the Gideon’s book (so to speak) and started putting other important works of literature in hotels and hospitals as well. How cool would it be to know that any time you checked into a hotel room, you could open up the bedside table to find some random literary classic?

  14. So unless the government has put down some sort of rule saying that government funded institutions shouldn’t be promoting one religion over another then there’s really nothing to complain about if all the hospitals want to have Bibles in them.

    I don’t think there’s anything to stop them promoting one religion over another but if politicians start endorsing a particular religion it potentially alienates voters of other faiths, so politically it’s a bad move. It would, however, be illegal for the government, or any organisation for that matter, to discriminate against people because of their faith, as I understand.

  15. How cool would it be to know that any time you checked into a hotel room, you could open up the bedside table to find some random literary classic?

    Some hotel chains do just that.

  16. Every time I’ve been in hospital I’ve ended up wanting to toss the TV out the window just to hear it hit the pavement below.  But two things prevent me – in hospital I’m too sick to lift a TV, and they wisely chain them to the wall.

    Anyway, it occurs to me – if you’re the very religious type who really wants to read the bible while lying in a hospital bed, what are the odds you wouldn’t bring your favorite, familiar, personally-owned copy?

  17. Anyway, it occurs to me – if you’re the very religious type who really wants to read the bible while lying in a hospital bed, what are the odds you wouldn’t bring your favorite, familiar, personally-owned copy?

    Maybe they’re hoping for a last minute conversion?

    Just hang from the tv hanging from the chain.  Then maybe they’ll bring in the GOOD stuff. smile

  18. One of the joys of being British is that you can listen to people debate this one the radio. At the moment they are only putting the books into storage because MRSA is getting worse, but someone just misread a memo and threw a hissy fit and a lot of people followed suit.

    The reason that the bible is being removed, and not the hundreds of other objects that can be contaminated, is because you can’t clean a book with fairy liquid (or whatever weak cleaning chemicals they use). You can however clean tv’s chairs, bed linen and all the other objects that the hospital provides (on the assumption they hire a competent cleaner that doesnt ignore entire wards)

    Ive never really understood why they keep bibles in hospitals, if you wanted your own you should have brought it. Since most hospital stays are normally planned, with the exception of a&e, you have plenty of time to bring your own, or failing that ask someone you know to bring one by for you.

    Ok I can see why you’d want your religeous book there, personally i’d prefer some form of internet connection and a computer waiting for me. But the fact is, at the moment they are a health risk.

  19. If there is even an infinitesimal chance of infection being borne from patient to patient by a persistent non-sanitizable object in the room, then remove it. Hospitals are the best damn place in the world to pick up an INFECTION.

    I mean, honestly. They’re supposed to change and sanitize EVERYTHING ELSE between patients, why should this porous object that is commonly held close to the face (therefore probably breathed/sneezed/coughed upon) be exempt from biohazard procedures?

    Serai is on to something…make them cheap and disposable (I dunno about flushable, that’s a pretty big wad of paper). If the patient doesn’t take theirs home with them, throw the sumbitch away and set out a new one for the next patient. The other option is to laminate every single page so it can be dipped in Lysol.

  20. I guess I’m just not too concerned—it’s not like the hospitals or, even in the case of public hospitals, taxes are paying for the bibles.  They’re donated freely.
    I just think there are bigger fish to fry.

    If they really want to make the bibles sanitary, they could just put them on an old palm pilot and patients could check one out.

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