Yesterday I had some blood drawn in the most depressing lab of my life. Because the only chairs (as usual too tall for me) were jammed into the hall, the other patients and I got acquainted quickly. Since one of them is in treatment for cancer right now, it didn't take long for the talk to center on nauseating and debilitating odors and airborne danger in waiting rooms. (Since we were in the hall, there was plenty of ventilation.) Perfume was mentioned, and my new friends felt there was no excuse for wearing perfume to an oncology office. Especially if there is a large and very readable sign warning against strong odors and what they do to cancer patients.
Then of course we remembered last winter's horror of a waiting room full of tobacco-smoke-saturated wooly winter coats. (Yes, I'm plagiarizing myself.) And there was the day in another doctor's office recently when two of us waited in the hall because of the tobacco smoke odor emanating from one single woman.
Yesterday was not my first impromptu conversation to end with this decision: The trouble with many waiting rooms is the patients!
Is it unethical for a doctor to make someone wait in the hall if that patient is endangering the health of others?
The other possibility (maybe) is excellent ventilation in the waiting room - a very expensive remodel. I still don't know how to ask a fine and delightful doctor (or those who may not be quite so fine) if there is something that can be done about ventilation.
Apparently, patients deciding what to do about waiting rooms is like mice deciding "who will bell the cat."