Sunday 27 August 2017

Must. Defend. The. Policy!

Those of you who use Twitter will have seen that the reason for lack of content this past week was because I was holidaying in the Dordogne. After a week of clear blue skies and temperatures of 30 plus degrees every day, I brought some weather back for you for the bank holiday weekend, you can thank me later.

In the meantime, some fellow jewel robbers have been expressing their disgust at the cruel no vaping policy at Priscilla Bacon Lodge in Norfolk where Anna Raccoon was receiving 'care' before she sadly passed away last week. The hospice has come up with a quite bizarre reason for their heartless e-cig ban.
I would like to assure you that the situation around the use of e-cigarettes was discussed at a Health and Safety meeting at the beginning of August, where consideration was taken into account about the use of e-cigarettes around compressed oxygen supplies.  The British Compressed Gas Association have produced a leaflet on the safe use of e-cigarettes which gives a clear explanation of why they are unsafe around compressed oxygen supplies, and the Trust has to ensure that patients and staff are not put at risk.  That is the reason that patients are asked not to use the devices in a ward situation where there are oxygen supplies. 
So, it was apparently all about the use of oxygen. OK, let's look at that then. Remember we are talking about a tiny, enclosed, low-powered Ego CE4 type device here.

Watch this experiment carried out in 2014 when the scare story about e-cigs and oxygen first surfaced in the media.

As you can see, oxygen on its own cannot burn, it requires a source of ignition, and even exposed terminals from a dripper can't do that on their own. Something else has to be involved to cause a problem, as the video poster says:
"It is possible, if she's got a 40 watt dripper (which sets light to bedding - DP), and her oxygen feed has oxygenated a blanket, for an e-cig to cause a fire. I don't think so myself, I suspect it might be some other source of ignition"
Anna wouldn't have even known what a dripper is, let alone owned one, and I would challenge absolutely anyone to try to light any material with an Ego. It would be like trying to start a barbecue with a TV remote control.

But still, they have their policy and they are obviously determined to stick to it. So what else does the British Compressed Gas Association guidance say? Well, there is this:
There are many electronic devices available which can help enhance patients lives, but their use in close proximity to oxygen should be carefully controlled and the risks of an ignition understood. There have been many media reports about the potential fire hazard of charging and using products, such as phones, tablets, laptops, games consoles etc. These dangers can be exacerbated when using oxygen. Patients are advised not to charge electronic devices in rooms where oxygen is being used or stored.
Hmm, that's odd. Because, you see, the hospice had no problem whatsoever with Anna charging her phone by her bedside; no problem with the rechargable radio that she had on the bed covers; and no problem with the Apple PC that was plugged in under her bed. Nor either the remote keyboard on a tray in front of her from where she wrote emails to me, amongst others.

Nope, everything else that the BCGA said should be prohibited was allowed; it was only the e-cig (not even charged in situ) which was banned. Do you sense an agenda here?

The Lodge's email continued:
Staff always look to accommodate patient’s wishes but, understandably, in a way that meets health and safety, and reasonable compromises are made where possible. 
I would like to assure you that the situation was discussed, and the reasoning explained, with the patient concerned, and the unit already has a solution in place to support patients for whom Vaping, use of e-cigarettes or smoking cigarettes needs to continue.
Wouldn't it be interesting to find out what their idea is to "accommodate patient's wishes" in this situation? You see, in palliative care, centres like Priscilla Bacon Lodge are allowed to offer a smoking room for terminally ill patients, let alone somewhere they can vape. The reasoning behind that was given in this evidence to a parliamentary select committee at the time the law was drafted.
[T]hose receiving palliative care, are unlikely to suffer any disadvantages to their health by smoking and behaviour modification will have no affect on the prognosis of their disease.
So was Anna offered the "solution in place to support patients for whom Vaping, use of e-cigarettes or smoking cigarettes needs to continue"? No, of course not, they just confiscated it. There was apparently talk of her being wheeled outside to vape at one point when a film crew - which was probably there to cover the story of her general election candidature - had come to call, but it never happened, of course.

The answer to why they didn't could be contained in the guidance from that font of all knowledge about palliative care, the British Compressed Gas Association, that Priscilla Bacon employees seem to value so much.
If it is not possible to remove the patient from a high oxygen environment, it may be best to consider non-heated nicotine sources such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
Well, it was perfectly possible to remove her from that environment if that was truly the problem, but they didn't. Their only 'solution' is NRT, isn't it?

The Trust's dignity policy talks about their commitment to "support people with the same respect you would want for yourself or a member of your family" and to enabling "people to maintain the maximum possible level of independence, choice and control", but at the end of the day they couldn't be arsed to take her to a space - indoor or outdoor - where she could vape. Easier just to confiscate the thing, eh?

Because, you see, they have a policy.

H/T SC & The Blocked Dwarf via email

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