Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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9 Responses

  1. fillyjonk says:

    The local hospital here and my university campus are both ‘smoke free’ on their campuses. No skin off my nose, I don’t smoke*

    But I have noticed that there are an awful lot of people standing smoking *right across the street* from the hospital – on a roadside, but right outside where hospital property ends. And on campus, the students smoke in their cars (still counted as their own property, I assume) or, since my building is right at the northeast edge of campus – they cross the (busy, and hard to see oncoming traffic) street to stand on the corner across from my building and smoke.

    I admit I wonder what would happen if someone got hit by a car, if their family would try suing the university. I don’t know.

    (*When they start wanting to rummage in the lunches we bring from home in the name of wellness, then I’ll get incensed)

    I will say when my dad was briefly on oxygen at home – after a hospital stay – the visiting nurse came in prepared to read the riot act about smoking until my dad informed her that no one in the household smoked, though apparently she had heard of some very bad outcomes of someone smoking while on oxygen. So I presume the craving for nicotine is so strong in some they’re willing to take that risk. Not sure how hospitals could solve that; I guess patches don’t work?Report

  2. Silver Wolf says:

    This problem happens so often that if they don’t have an actual term for it, they should; people enact policy that is counter to human nature.

    In this case, the idea that if you make a bad thing difficult enough people will rationally abandon the bad thing. Criminalization of vice is a great example of this. We as a society have been trying the same thing for decades (sometimes centuries) with the same results.

    Being a never-smoker in an extended family that is almost all smokers, I have seen first hand the lengths that people will go to smoke. My father had 19 brothers and sisters. Most of them, including my father, died of some cancer or other. The eldest, who never smoked, is still kicking around. You cannot apply the rational actor model to addiction and probably not to vice either.Report

  3. Saul Degraw says:

    I’ve now done plaintiff side and defense side tort law cases. The big problem I think is that unfortunately for a good percentage of Americans (I can’t predict how many), tort law is the closest thing that they have to a social safety net because of our largely lacking welfare state.

    Plenty of countries have tort law and plaintiff’s lawyers who do medmal or other injury cases. I’ve seen plaintiff’s lawyers bring cases that I would not bring. Plenty of those lawyers make nice livings doing those cases in other countries. Australia and Canada have lucrative tort law bars IIRC. In a lot of countries in Europe though, tort law is very limited because the welfare state and social safety net programs take care of people in ways that mitigate or vastly lessen what tort law does in the United States.

    But since the United States needs to constantly be the country of “and this is why we can’t have nice things,” our system seems to be a constant fight for people who want to get rid of tort law as much as they can but also have no welfare state or social programs that mitigate the need for tort law. When I was in law school, I was friends with a German LLM student, she told me about a huge train derailment where the train operators were at fault. The injured people got a decent but not huge amount in compensatory damages because they had other avenues for getting medical treatment, etc.

    For some reason, the answer in the United States is always: no tort law and no welfare state because freedom by its most idiocratic and plutocratic definition.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    Personally, I want my medical professionals to be on heavy nootropics.Report

  5. Slade the Leveller says:

    Wouldn’t a better solution be to let them leave the grounds for a smoke? Discharging them for a short term crossing of the property line seems as capricious to me as the smoking ban must seem to you.Report

    • Maybe? It’s a longstanding policy to prevent people from repeatedly coming and going. A clear line between whether you are in or are not in their care. Before this, it was an issue with people wanting to leave to eat out. Or people just wanting to treat the hospital like a hotel to check in and out.Report

      • Slade the Leveller in reply to Will Truman says:

        Further refining my suggestion is to put them on the clock. You can check out for a 30 minute smoke break. I know this creates a logistical headache for the hospital, but I would think it’s better than a discharge AMA.

        Maybe give them nicotine patches? I really can’t find fault for a hospital banning smoking.Report

  6. Slade the Leveller says:

    Heh. Maybe the patients need to unionize. The things that are subject to collective bargaining…Report