Anyone who has had to spend any amount of time in a hospital has likely run into a case of boredom or feelings of isolation or of being unproductive.
Those are a few of the reasons Lake Cowichan resident Sarah Gibson has started an online petition for access to free or inexpensive wireless access in Canadian hospitals.
Reader responses to the Citizen story “Lake Cowichan resident petitioning for free hospital Wi-Fi” show Gibson is not alone.
“I think this would be a great idea for people laying in hospital beds. It would allow them to connect with their families on a regular basis, it would allow family members to check in on their loved ones via video etc.,” wrote Lisa Dawson.
“Hospitals should all have Wi-Fi,” wrote Tim Genereaux. “With the amount of technology used as a means of daily communication by everyone, I’m sure it would be a very useful tool by people admitted or visiting that need to contact family etc.”
It’s a positive for all involved, said Don Fubario.
“…I can’t think of a reason not to let Telus or Shaw to provide it as they do elsewhere,” Fubario wrote. “Free advertising for them, Wi-Fi for us, VIHA doesn’t have to do anything. Win win win.”
Most, but not everybody agrees.
Tine Nd noted “a lot of sensitive medical equipment could be affected,” while Crystal Norton Brooks didn’t understand the sense of entitlement to free Wi-Fi.
“It’s only free to you not the company and that money should be placed elsewhere. Buy a book. Invest in data. Not there [sic] responsibility to keep you connected,” she wrote.
Thus far 315 signatures of a 5,000 goal have been collected on the ipetitions.com page Free Internet For Canadian Hospitals.
Island Health spokesperson Meribeth Burton said Island Health provides wireless internet for the public and staff at the new North Island Hospital campuses in Campbell River and the Comox Valley.
“Our goal is to expand public and staff Wi-Fi to other facilities in the future as opportunity and finances allow,” Burton said.