On Tuesday, Nov. 12, I saw the new hospital for the first time. Although I didn’t leave the area called “Main Street,” what I saw was beautiful.

I believe, however, that there is a problem with the waiting areas for Augusta Family Medicine, Augusta Pulmonary Medicine and MaineHealth Cardiology. The waiting areas for these three practices are part of the busiest hallway in the entire hospital. Even the registration desks for these practices are in the hallway.

While a glass partition prevents the information you give to the registration clerk from being heard by others, the fact that you are standing at the registration desk is visible to all those passing by.

I believe that the information that you are a patient of any of these three practices and are being seen that day is private medical information and should not be available to the public. While I was waiting for my appointment in Augusta Family Medicine’s very public waiting area, I felt on display to all who were walking by.

Let’s assume, for a moment, that Augusta Family Medicine was moved out of that space, and, instead, outpatient mental health services was given that location. Should the people registering for or waiting for mental health services be visible to everyone? Probably not. So it is with family medicine, pulmonary medicine or cardiology. Patients of these practices should have a private area in which to wait,

That may mean that a solid wall will need to be constructed, separating the waiting areas from the common hallway, and a solid wall may block some natural light from reaching the waiting areas, but it is better than being on display and having the general public know your private affairs and that you are waiting for an appointment.

Phyllis HydeAugusta

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