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ME/CFS South Australia Inc supports the needs of sufferers of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and related illnesses. We do this by providing services and information to members.


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Multiple Chemical Sensitivity & the hospital environment – a recent experience

Tuesday 17 June 2008

North Eastern HospitalSociety member Colin Northey has sent us a letter telling us about a positive experience he and his wife had when she had to stay in hospital recently:


My wife suffers from Chronic Fatigue and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and, after delaying the inevitable for about four years, recently needed to be hospitalised for surgery.

Fortunately, she was able to restrict her admission to just one night, but still we were filled with dread because of previous bad experiences that arose simply visiting a relative in hospital. On those occasions the chemical laden air within the wards had made her ill and we had been forced to leave after about twenty minutes.

Mindful of her intolerance, we set up a meeting with a hospital representative two weeks before the scheduled admission to discuss what measures could be adopted to minimise the anticipated effects.

We requested a number of strategies, all of which were received with an open mind and which subsequently were implemented for us, resulting in a safe overnight stay more comfortable than my wife could have hoped for.

Among the specific actions implemented were the following:

• Private room with ensuite, located as far away as possible from ward reception and work rooms generating cleaning smells (disinfectants, etc)
• Kept the room door closed as much as possible
• Cleaned the room with clean water only-no chemicals
• Supplied our own bed linen and soap
• The catering manager personally prepared meals after consulting with my wife to ensure she could tolerate all food presented
• One ward nurse was allocated as my wife’s dedicated carer after surgery and she made a point of not wearing any perfumed personal products

The hospital is The North-Eastern Community Hospital on Lower NE Road, Campbelltown SA and we think their efforts should be acknowledged. We are very grateful for their efforts.

Colin Northey
June 2008


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