The second incident occurred when I learned from a friend that large quantities of well stored, unopened and unused nursing equipment and sealed medication could not be returned or re-used when no longer needed. The remote possibility of tampering, whether deliberate or accidental, renders all these extremely costly resources fit for nothing other than scrapping. As I surveyed the boxes, I couldn't help feeling that there is something deeply wrong with our priorities. Is it the threat of being sued that makes the unlikely possibility that hygeinically stored and re-used equipment will cause harm carry more weight than the scandal of throwing away costly items that, in many countries, would be gratefully used? The drugs industry is deeply dependent on oil and contributes a great deal to the twin problems of the peak oil scenario and carbon emission. I quite see that there are issues around infection control but, as with my first scenario, I object to an approach to the problem that refuses to see the sheer madness of the situation and accepts waste without question.
Of course, I can see both sides in all these situations but my gripe is about what all this adds up to. I don't relish living in a society that (a) fears and abuses touch, (b) removes all risk to our own wellbeing at the expense of the environment and of other people who live in places where resources are scant (c) supresses and teaches people to avoid natural communication even where there is an element of help or kindness.