The American Medical Association House of Delegates recently had their annual meeting in Chicago, and a surprising topic came up on the agenda: dirty hotel glasses.
UPI reporter Ed Susman covered the issue in the story below. Let me know if you think the flap is legit or an over-reaction:
CHICAGO, June 25 (UPI) -- The cleanliness of drinking glasses in hotel rooms grabbed the attention of the American Medical Association House of Delegates as it debated whether the organization needs to take action to ensure clean cups.
Even as the delegates met at Chicago's grand Hilton Hoteland Towers, the Illinois delegation said that its observations of the sanitization of drinking glasses in "upscale" hotels in the state left something to be desired.
"We brought this forward because we were thinking of the health of delegates," said Jane Jackman, a Springfield, Ill., family practitioner.
In their resolution, discussed before a special pubic health committee of the AMA policy-making House of Delegates, several speakers decried bringing up the topic because it wasn't the type of issue that the AMA should be spending time discussing -- and there was virtually nothing that could be done about it.
"This type of sanitation problem is beyond what we can do in public health," said Mary Gayle Armstrong, a family practice doctor in Madison, Miss.
The resolution claimed that in some unnamed hotels, cleaning crews collect cups and glasses, place them in the bathroom sink and let the hot water run while the housekeeper performs other duties. After the bathroom sink hot water treatment, the items are dried with a towel from the room even before fresh towels are brought in.
"This practice does not meet public health standards of washing, sanitizing and drying used drinking glasses and cups before making them available for reuse," the resolution claimed. "When contacted regarding this practice, the state and certain county public health departments in Illinois have not taken any further action on their part. This practice constitutes a genuine and potentially serious public health problem."
The resolution would require AMA "to contact the public health departments of each state and express the concern of physicians for the risks associated with failure to properly clean and sanitize glasses and cups in hotel rooms to the health of the public."
"When I was a public health inspector, that type of activity did come under my purview," said Mario Motta, a cardiologist in Salem, Mass. "That was 20 years ago, but inspectors have that type of authority."
"We can say, 'That's disgusting. That shouldn't happen. I don't want it happening,'" said Dave Cundiff of Olympia, Wash., who is secretary of the American Association of Public Health Physicians.
The public health committee, headed by Elizabeth Kanof, a Raleigh, N.C., dermatologist, will deliberate over the testimony and issue a recommendation to the entire House of Delegates. Kanof and her fellow doctors could agree to accept the resolution, could decide not to recommend it or could refer it to committee for further study.