Can Pokémon Go Endanger the Safety of Hospital Patients?
Millions of people across the world are playing Pokémon Go, a new smartphone game that superimposes the famous franchise over the real world. The goal of the game is to visit these locations and capture as many Pokémon as possible. Unfortunately, this has caused problems for players capturing Pokémon at police stations, on crowded freeways, or in hospitals. Let’s just be clear, hospitals and Pokemon Go do not mix.
Hospitals around the country are now banning Pokémon Go, citing concerns over patient safety and privacy. In fact, even hospital employees are being banned from capturing Pokémon.
Why Hospitals and Pokemon Go Are Not Getting Along
There are several reasons why hospitals are concerned the game is jeopardizing patient safety.
Risk of infection: According to a hospital administrator in Michigan, Pokémon Go can expose patients to germs. Players may enter areas of hospitals that are off limits, or wards where patients with compromised immune systems are undergoing treatment.
Distracting hospital staff: Doctors and nurses need to be able to focus on treating their patients. Large influxes of players wandering around hospitals collecting Pokémon may cause distractions.
Players may interfere with hospital operations: UC Davis Medical Center has reported players blocking medical staff in multiple spots around the hospital. For example, players were caught catching Pokémon at the hospital’s patient drop off/pickup point for ambulances. The hospital also reported players entering restricted areas.
Catching them all may be tempting, but please consider that playing in hospitals puts vulnerable and sick people at risk.