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by Abigail Van Buren

Hospital Room Is No Place to Conduct a Family Feud

DEAR ABBY: Many years ago, when I was a volunteer at a Veterans Hospital, I went into a room to visit a World War II veteran. His wife and grown children were arguing loudly and trying to get him involved. He looked at them for a while, and silently turned over. The visitors didn't notice me or the doctor who came in behind me; they just kept blaming each other about something. We both walked out and I noticed the doctor shaking his head in disbelief.

Not long ago when I was recovering from a five-way bypass and a stroke on the operating table, my roommate's wife and daughter came in to tell him about all the troubles they were having at home. The poor man had enough troubles of his own. I later mentioned it to a nurse. She told me that all the hospital patients have the same problem.

Hospitals should have a sign at the entrance that reads: "Leave your troubles at home while visiting patients." -- ERNEST A. SCHICHLER SR., COLUMBIA, S.C.

DEAR ERNEST: I agree. Subjecting patients who are sick enough to be hospitalized to additional stress is hardly therapeutic. Tranquility should be the order of the day.

And while I'm at it, visiting hours should be respected because patients need their rest.