Can’t happen, right?
And at least it can’t be you.
Death by misadventure, more like. Just Fate.
Like, here’s this van parked up in a lay-by selling burgers and you’ve got the munchies, why not? A burger for your friend and bacon butty for you. Looks OK, lorry-drivers all use it, what could be wrong?
The price for not thinking
Food poisoning is what. The worst kind.
Only twenty minutes to kick in too. Doubled-up with cramps, explosive vomiting, cold to touch like you can’t believe – in a coma before you even get to A&E. Another hour and the worst happens – staphylococcal poisoning and some underlying condition nobody knew was there.
Your best friend – gone. Dead from a burger.
Not your fault, right?
How could you know that burger van was suspect? Could happen to anyone.
Yeah, but – even a burger van has to conform to standards.
Public liability insurance, health and safety, health and hygiene certificates – there’s a whole load of legal stuff they have to satisfy before they can hit the road.
Operating regulations too – buying from safe supply, clean preparation area, regulated cooking time, washing hands, covering hair, wearing aprons, handling food with gloves – they can’t just willy-nilly flip burgers.
Which means that burger was probably OK when they handed it to you. The bacon butty too – nothing happened to you, did it?
Yeah, that burger van’s hygiene standards were most likely 100% up to scratch. Those lorry drivers would complain like hell otherwise – and they’d soon go out of business if they weren’t. Fines, criminal charges – lots of nasties to avoid.
So how did it happen?
One finger pointing, three pointing back
You took the burger and the butty back to the car, she opened the door, you gave it to her – has to be the burger van.
And just for the record, when did you actually wash your hands before all this? What were you handling? Did you touch or talk to anyone who had an infection? Did you handle their clothing or bedding?
Oh, sure. You MEANT to wash your hands. Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t – most of the time we all THINK we did. Anyway, what does it matter?
Staph contamination on your hands is what.
We all KNOW we’re supposed to wash our hands after handling stuff – and we all KNOW we’re supposed to do it again before handling food.
It’s like a responsibility to ourselves, to keep us safe from anything happening. Basic hygiene we learnt as kids.
OK, but what about other people?
If we forget to wash our hands and then handle THEIR food, isn’t it our fault?
And isn’t that what happened?
Staph bacteria transferred to the burger, instant food poisoning – game over.
But nothing happened to you, because most of the time it doesn’t. Staph can grow naturally on the skin or in the nose of around 25% of us – all quite safe unless it gets on food.
Which is what hand washing is all about.
Death by negligence
So if you didn’t wash your hands, isn’t that negligence?
And if somebody dies because of it, isn’t that murder?
Not intended or pre-empted or anything, but a cause of death nevertheless.
Death by negligence. Murder, right?
At the very least manslaughter, or culpable homicide.
Yes, culpable – because we all know about washing hands before touching food, don’t we?
A doctor could get struck off for that.
And friends can die from it.
It’s not some ritual we can shrug off, or a matter of conscience. It’s a vital safety measure.
Like turning off power, keeping matches in a safe place, locking the front door, using a seat belt, wearing a crash helmet, checking a gun’s safety catch is on. Forget the last three of those, and we could wind up in court.
So why not washing hands too? It’s not a game or some silly habit. Nurses and doctors prove it every day in hospital – WASHING HANDS SAVES LIVES.
Or not washing them kills. Guilty, or not guilty? Murder or no?
Hold that thought – nag, nag, nag.
The life you save may be your own.
Originally posted 2015-12-01 15:31:30.