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Hospital Hypocrisy on Sponsorship Must End

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, April 18, 2012

Twenty-seven of the 14,000 nationwide McDonald's restaurants reside in hospitals today, according to the fast food giant.

(By the way, a McDonald's spokesperson defended their hospital locations by stating, "Today, we offer more variety than ever in our menu and we trust that our customers will make the appropriate choices for them, their families and lifestyles.” To which I say, Ha!)

Fast food chains in hospitals is one of the most clear-cut conundrums in the history of hypocrisy. Unacceptable.

How can physicians preach preventative medicine and the importance of a healthy lifestyle when a patient can pick up a Big Mac on the way out? Or worse, what if a patient sees a fast food wrapper in their doctor’s or nurse’s trash can?

The photo posted on the NPR article shows at least three patient caregivers in line at McDonald's at Cleveland Clinic. Is that the message you want to be sending to patients?

The road ahead for hospitals and their corporate ties is not easy. Sure, corporate sponsorships are often a necessary evil. But when you cross the line from enjoying a beneficial corporate relationship to sending mixed health messages to patients, the necessary evil becomes a liability to your reputation.

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10 comments on "Hospital Hypocrisy on Sponsorship Must End"


Dana (5/1/2012 at 5:29 PM)
When formula is necessary, women should be able to decide which brands to use by referring to a pediatrician, rather than being limited to the contracts hospitals have with a formula companies. Even though these samples are "free," they end up costing more because mothers are likely to stick with the particular brand they receive in hospitals. These can cost up to $700 per year more than the cheaper alternative brands. Public health should come before corporate profits. The industry makes its profits by ensuring that less women breastfeed their babies. In some hospitals, formula companies provide two different discharge bags: one for moms who intend to formula feed and one for those who intend to breastfeed. And inside the breastfeeding bag, they place infant formula and coupons for more infant formula. This is straightforward attempt to convert these mothers to formula feeders and increase profits. The problem isn't in the use of infant formula when it's necessary, but in the way hospitals are serving as marketing venues for these companies. http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/pressroomredirect.cfm?ID=3578

16788044 (4/26/2012 at 2:24 PM)
Really, you want to pick on breast feeding...that's the best you can do. There are countless mothers who cannot or choose not to breastfeed. If you don't have an ooption for them what message does that send??? And don't say that you addressed this in your article, your one sentence attempt at appeasing these individuals is insulting. If you are going to bash hospitals for being hypocritical at least choose something meaningful. The fast food example is good, you should have started out with that and given it most of the attention. Now I just think that whoever wrote the article is one of those crazy breast feeding mongors who did this until their kids were 5.

M. Bennet Broner (4/19/2012 at 8:15 PM)
I spent a great deal of time at Hollywood (Florida) Memorial Hospital as my sister was dying there. I always found it funny that the McDonald's in the lobby had its own 'crash cart'. Did this say something about the food? However, if we are to rail against unhealthy food in hospitals, we should also look at their cafeterias. Sometimes serving cultural favorites is not the best idea!