Don't Drink The Handwash

Eponastill

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#1
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7920576.stm

This has to be the most stupid and annoying thing I've read for ages. It skillfully combines classic Urban Myth with Health and Safety OverReaction. It's even admitted that the action is a result, basically, of 'hearing stories'!

Hospital hand gels 'being drunk'.

A hospital in Dorset is removing alcohol-based hand cleaning gel from reception areas in a bid to stop visitors drinking it. The National Concern for Healthcare Infections say the gel, which contains up to 70% alcohol levels, is being stolen and mixed with other drinks. Two homeless people died in London last year after drinking the gel.

The Royal Bournemouth Hospital has removed dispensers from reception areas and those in wards are now supervised. Dr Bill Gramsden, director of infection control at the hospital, said: "[Visitors] have the opportunity to wash their hands and apply the gel in the clinical area, which is the ward next to where the patients are. That will be very closely supervised by nursing and other clinical staff. Where it really matters, next to the patient and in that environment, I am happy we have got really good supervision."

He said there had been no reports of incidents or bottles of the gel being stolen but decided to bring in the extra measures after recommendations to all hospitals from the National Patient Safety Association.

Poole General Hospital said it was aware of the problem but said its dispensers were already only available at the entrances to wards.

Neil Manser, co-founder of National Concern for Healthcare Infections, said: "Unfortunately we have people in this society who are addicted to alcohol. We have heard many stories of people going along and putting it into their orange juice."
 

plusk

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#2
Hi Eponastill,

I'm afraid this is one urban myth which ain't no myth.

I sometimes work as a court interpreter and last year I had two cases, relating to well-known hospitals in Central London. In one the guy was stopped by security guards trying to walk out with 2 such botles in his jacket pockets. At the hearing he pleaded guilty and said that the reason for taking them was to drink the contents. The other guy hid in a cleaning cupboard intending to steal the bottles when the coast was clear. Gave the cleaner the shock of her life when she found him.
 

mugwumpaddict

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#3
As much as I hate The Sun (I am a Liverpool fan). I agree this ain't no myth.
My husband used to work in a hospital and peop;e were caught drinking/stealing thegel to drink there.
Staff would also take it home, I don't know if they were drinking it.
Years ago when they put out instruments in operating theatres in trays of alcohol to keep them sterile, occasionally they would get patients sneaking into the theatre to drink that alcohol. If people were prepared to sneak into an operating theatre and drink that openly available hand gel is easy.

On a related note snopes meantions this in relation to young children.

http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/sanitizer.asp
 

Mythopoeika

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#4
I can't imagine it would taste particularly nice, but I suppose alkies will drink anything alcoholic in spite of the taste...weird.

When my Dad was in hospital last year, he said one of the guys in his ward had to be told off for loitering around the gel dispenser on the wall. He was told that there had been a number of thefts.
 

OneWingedBird

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#5
i'm sure people will try to drink it, but if i'm not mistaken, it isn't actually ethyl alcohol/ethanol that's used, is it?

the properties of ethanol aren't the same as other alcohols.
 

mugwumpaddict

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#7
I can't imagine it would taste particularly nice, but I suppose alkies will drink anything alcoholic in spite of the taste...weird.
I'm sure Meths doesn't taste nice and i know Special Brew (central heating for tramps) doesn't and they drink those.

BlackRiverFalls said:
i'm sure people will try to drink it, but if i'm not mistaken, it isn't actually ethyl alcohol/ethanol that's used, is it?

the properties of ethanol aren't the same as other alcohols.
Ethyl alcohol isn't the same thing as ethanol. Ethyl alcohol now goes by the name Ethyl Ethanoate/Ethyl acetate and is not something you would want to drink unless you want to be dead.
The alcohol in hand sanitizer is usually Industrial Denatured Alcohol (IDA) but is on labels as ‘ethanol’ (pure ethanol is very expensive due to the duty it incurs).sometimes Iso Propyl alcohol (Propan-1-ol)is used.
IDA is the accepted name for what used to be call Industrial Methylated Spirits (IMS). It consists of ethanol, a little water and 5% methanol which results in the COSHH (control of subststances hazardous to health) classification of harmful. Completely denatured alcohol (CDA) (formally Mineralised Methylated Spirits) contains pyridine (harmful), a chemical with an obnoxious odour, as well as a purple dye.
Finally I'm interested as to why you think that the properties of ethanol are not the same as other alcohols Black river falls. They are, it's just a diffrence in potency of affect. We don't generally drink other alcohols, methanol, propanol, butanol as their poisonious effect is too great in small volumes. Ethanol is still poisonious it just takes more of it.
 

Kondoru

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#9
Its also one of the most useful hygiene products known.

And you may light fires with it.
 
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#10
Given that half the drinks served in bars these days look, smell and taste like luminous toilet cleaner I'm not sure the behavioural leap from booze to handwash is that difficult.
 

Analogue Boy

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#11
I don't think they should stop it. The resulting TrampVomit may have a beneficial effect on clearing up the MRSA and that awful Shits Disease emanating from our hospitals.
 

Eponastill

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#12
Well well well. I'll go to the foot of our stairs. Truth really is stranger than fiction. I guess Mr Fort would be pleased. Thanks to all of you for clearing that one up.
 

James_H

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#13
hmmm. I remember as a misguided teenager, my friends and I tried to get drunk on a bottle of meths. It didn't seem to do anything.
 
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